Domestic partner benefits for city employees are winning strong support at Lexington city hall. Members of the General Government Committee today unanimously backed a motion for a draft ordinance. Council member Steve Kay chairs the panel.
“I believe that what we are about is something that we should do, that we should have done quite a while ago and the basic issue for me is fairness and equity. I want the information about cost. I want the details about the way the ordinance will be written, but I believe this is something that deserves full support from council,” said Kay.
To qualify, council member Ed Lane believes employees should prove they have lasting, living arrangements with their partners. But, he also believes the policy should pertain to all employees.
“And I think our policy should be that everybody would fill out the same identical paperwork including affidavits, since that those are required, cause I don’t think we should discriminate against one class of benefit versus another,” said Lane.
Other requirements may include proof the couple are financially inter-dependent and they’ve lived together for at least a year. Council member Julian Beard worries some workers might use the benefits to defraud the city.
“I can see the risk of creating a domestic partner situation just for the purpose of getting insurance,” added Beard.
Council member Diane Lawless argued an unscrupulous employee could also use marriage to defraud the city. Human Resources Director John Maxwell says an employee survey will help Lexington determine the potential costs.
“I think there’s probably gonna be some follow up on it to make sure we’re capturing the criteria that we want to capture,” said Maxwell.
Council will likely see a draft ordinance in November. Louisville, Covington, and Berea are the three Kentucky cities that already offer such worker benefits.