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Oak Harbor lands WellCity award

Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik and Wellness Committee members Tim Shelley, Kim Perrine and Chairwoman Dina Nichols hold up a check in the amount that will be saved this year on medical benefits. The city won the WellCity award for the sixth year in a row.  - Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik and Wellness Committee members Tim Shelley, Kim Perrine and Chairwoman Dina Nichols hold up a check in the amount that will be saved this year on medical benefits. The city won the WellCity award for the sixth year in a row.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

Efforts at City Hall have once again earned Oak Harbor the WellCity award, a recognition that will save taxpayers $36,673 in medical coverage expenses this year.

The honor is bestowed by the Association of Washington Cities to select municipalities who use the organization as its employee health provider. Those that met stringent best practice standards in health promotion are given a 2 percent break on premiums for staff and their spouses.

According to City Administrator Paul Schmidt, of the 235 cities in the state who participate in the Employee Benefit Trust only 79 earned the general award. Of those, 24 were recognized as “excellent.”

“This is a gold award,” said Schmidt, at a recent city council meeting.

He recognized members of the Wellness Committee, the group of employees who were instrumental in meeting the criteria necessary to qualify for the award, with certificates of appreciation.

Present at the meeting were Chairwoman Dina Nichols, and members Tim Shelley and Kim Perrine. Lisa Bebee, Janet Sabalausky and Romy Velasquez also serve on the group.

This is the sixth year in a row Oak Harbor has been honored with the award and the third time it was distinguished as excellent. However, it’s only the second time it’s received the 2 percent break on premiums as the incentive has only been offered for the past two years.

The city’s efforts in 2010 shaved about $33,600 off its medical expenses for 2011. To demonstrate their achievement again this year, Schmidt and members of the committee presented then Mayor Jim Slowik with a symbolic check for $36,673, the amount that will be saved in 2012.

Slowik said he was proud of the committee and all those who worked toward the accomplishment. He said the group’s efforts brought city staff together and only as a team were they able to accomplish so much.

“Excellent, good job,” Slowik said.

 

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