Domestic Partner Benefits Forum

Reported by: Caitlyn Jones
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Updated: 11/18/2013 9:39 am
        Residents have a lot of questions and concerns after the domestic partner benefits ordinance passed this week.
        All Chattanooga city council members and Mayor Andy Berke were invited to the forum held by the Citizens for Government Accountability & Transparency and several area churches. 
        Only Council members Larry Grohn and Ken Smith attended.
        Both of them voted against the ordinance.
        The other council members and the mayor said they had prior engagements.
        "Although I'm disappointed that other council members couldn't attend, I completely understand why in some cases they couldn't cut off their prior engagements," Grohn said.
        Many community members expressed concern with the amount of money the extension of benefits will cost the city.
        "We need to take care of our own, our police men, pension, part time employees they need help. I don't think we should extend them out and bring in new coverage," one man said.
        "I think the council members that made the decision that fairness was more important than the costs was thinking somewhere the administration is going to be able to find cuts or efficiencies that will enable the city to pick up this extra amount of money," Grohn said.
        Though the ordinance still has to pass a second reading, residents are already ready to petition for the vote to go to a referendum if it passes.
        "I would like to see it defeated on a second reading but if not, yes, go to the referendum," said Johnny McCollum.

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