Flower Hill clerk walks out as board refuses to consider employee retirement benefits

Flower Hill clerk walks out as board refuses to consider employee retirement benefits
Flower Hill Village Hall in the Village of Flower Hill on May 26, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

When the Flower Hill Board of Trustees went to end their meeting Monday night, Village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer said she stopped the board for one final agenda item to be addressed that was left out – establishing employee retirement benefits.

But nobody introduced the resolution upon her asking, Shatzkamer said, and the village’s attorney told the board that it could be discussed if any board member brought a motion forward to address the resolution. Everyone remained silent, Shatzkamer said.

“Nobody said a word,” she said.

So Shatzkamer closed her book, got up and walked out. As she walked out she said she told the board: “I am so disappointed.”

Shatzkamer said the mayor asked for the item to be removed from the agenda before the meeting but that she did not as it was right before she was leaving the office.

“Ms. Shatzkamer who’s employment is coming to an end asked the Board to change the terms of her own employment and the Board did not feel that it was appropriate [sic],” Rosenbaum wrote in an email to Blank Slate Media.

Currently, the Village of Flower Hill does not offer any retirement benefits for its employees, Shatzkamer said.

Shatzkamerr said Flower Hill is the only village of comparable size in Nassau County that does not provide retirement health benefits.

Those that do provide retirement benefits include Sands Point, Roslyn, North Hills, Old Westbury, Kings Point and East Hills.

She said even smaller villages than Flower Hill provide retirement benefits of some form.

The village originally established retirement benefits in 1969. This was changed in 1992 when two classes were established differentiating between those hired before and after 1992.

Employees hired before 1992 received 100% village-paid retirement health insurance, and those hired after 1992 contributed 50% of the cost after retirement. In 1997, this was further changed to abolish retirement benefits for employees hired after 1992.

In 2009 a 10% contribution was established for all employee’s retirement benefits.

Shatzkamer said the village paid 90% of the premium for six retired employees hired before 1992 in 2023.

Shatzkamer previously presented the possibility of establishing employee retirement benefits to the village, preparing a presentation with information about what it could include.

The New York State Health Insurance Program provides retirement rates for state and local government employees.

Under this program, the village would pay a total of $52,590 annually, with 90% of the premium paid by the village, according to Shatzkamer.

She proposed to the board that the New York State retirement program be offered to employees working for more than 10 years. This includes three employees currently employed at the village who are anticipated to retire within five to 10 years.

She said offering retirement benefits is common among most other villages and described it as a “longheld tradition in all of public service.”

Shatzkamer said this helps draw in employee candidates to the public sector, where they receive lower salaries than in the private sector and retain employees.

“This is not a gift, it’s a reward for years of loyal service,” she said.

Shatzkamer said while hoping for the benefit program to be implemented, she at least wanted it to go before a vote for the sake of all the village’s employees.

“After everything I’ve done in this village, you couldn’t even give me the courtesy of taking a vote,” Shatzkamer said.

The village’s board of trustees meetings are live-streamed and posted on its YouTube channel, but no audio was available for Monday’s meeting where the retirement benefits were discussed.

Shatzkamer, who has worked for the village for more than 15 years, is set to retire in less than 25 days and said she will be forced to enroll in Medicare upon retirement.

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  1. What a terrible way to treat employees! Wow!
    Ronnie Shatzkamer is/was one of the nicest people to deal with.
    Flower Hill is not a poor village. Shame on Flower Hill!


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