By Assemblyman Rob Clifton
I recently read Former Monmouth County Freeholder Amy Mallet’s criticism of Freeholder Serena DiMaso’s purchase of health benefits through the County. I have to disagree with the former Freeholder’s comments. I was on the Freeholder board in 2009 when Freeholder Lillian Burry and I proposed eliminating taxpayer fund health benefits for freeholders in order to deal with the downturn in economy. I was deputy director in 2010 when we made the resolution permanent.
Both actions were taken to save money in the budget and to return those dollars to the taxpayers. Our intent was to no longer have the residents pay for health benefits; certainly if Ms. Mallet wanted to pay for those benefits out of her own pocket we could have and would have allowed it.
In 2016 the Freeholder Board amended the county health benefits policy to deal with the punitive effects of the Affordable Care Act which now penalizes millions of Americans who do not have benefits. Former Freeholder Mallet knows as well as anyone who has served on that board, that it is a full time job. She also knows that Freeholder DiMaso paid more than “a fee,” but rather the full premium for health care insurance. It has been widely publicized that Freeholder DiMaso has paid nearly $70,000 to date.
Election season brings out the best and worst in people, and sadly this issue has been twisted into the worst. As proof of this, I invite the public to read the minutes from these meetings themselves (January 22, 2009, February 12, 2009 and February 25, 2010). They are available on the county website. Once read, I am sure they will see that this is politically motivated to twist the facts and sway the voters. I have faith that the voters will see through this political ploy and support Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso and her running mates Sheriff Shaun Golden, Surrogate Rosemarie Peters and Freeholder Director Tom Arnone.
Rob Clifton is a Former Monmouth County Freeholder Director