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Board reaches compromise with Albers on insurance

Recently, Goodhue County Board voted down outgoing-Sheriff Dean Albers' request for three years of continued coverage on the county health care plan.

But on Tuesday the board agreed to extend Albers' health insurance two months to give the 54-year-old time to find a private plan health insurance.

Commissioner Ted Seifert asked Albers if he was going to ask for an extension in the future.

"This is what I am asking for and that is where I'm going to stop," Albers told the board.

Albers would have been covered through January, because he doesn't officially retire until early next year. The extension will now cover him through March, but Albers said he will drop the county plan once he acquires private coverage.

Commissioner Ron Allen cast the lone dissenting vote.

"How long have you known you were going to retire? Wasn't it since May?" Allen asked Albers during Tuesday's County Board meeting -- insinuating he should have sought out private health insurance earlier.

Albers dismissed the argument, saying he had banked on being covered for three years after his retirement. Albers did say he should have addressed the health insurance issue earlier.

Albers requested the benefits after learning a 1998 county ordinance offering health insurance to retiring elected department heads would not apply to him.

The law applied only to the four elected department heads serving at the time, including current Goodhue County Attorney Steve Betcher. Albers took office a year later.

Allen and Commissioners Jim Bryant and Ted Seifert voted earlier this month to deny Albers original request. Commissioners Dan Rechtzigel and Richard Samuelson had voted in favor of the extension.