City hires wellness coordinator

Published 11:27 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

The city has hired a $40,000 a year health and wellness coordinator to develop an “employee health and wellness plan” for city employees.

The position was created by eliminating a vacant position in the Parks and Recreation department, city spokeswoman Debbie George said. The city already is saving about $100,000 to $200,000 on its insurance premiums through the new hire, she added.

The new coordinator is charged with developing and implementing the plan to mitigate increasing claims because of manageable health conditions, George said. The city’s insurance carrier recommended the position, she said.

The cost savings come “in anticipation of the financial benefits to be derived by such a proactive program,” George said. Additional savings are projected after the programs the coordinator develops begin to combat avoidable health conditions, which currently represent a large portion of claims, she added.

George’s department also benefited from another recent hire. The part-time position, which pays $14.57 per hour, will assist with preparing news releases and promoting special events, programs and city initiatives to the public.

The position was funded through a transfer of money from the Parks and Recreation department that was previously set aside to promote that department’s programs.

“The funding transfer occurred with the adoption of the [fiscal year 2011] operating budget in order to leverage the efforts of the media department and centralize marketing and promotion initiatives being paid for by the General Fund,” George wrote.