The Second Department determined a 1983 municipal resolution health insurance for non-union town employees did not create a vested contractual right for continued benefits. Therefore the 2012 reduction of the town’s contributions to the retirees health insurance was valid, although the contributions could not be reduced below the levels mandated by the Civil Service Law:
“A municipal resolution is, in general, a unilateral action that is temporary in nature and, thus, does not create any vested contractual rights” … . Nothing in the language of the October 13, 1983, resolution indicates that the Town intended to create a contractual or vested right … . Moreover, the appellants failed to submit any evidence, beyond the resolution, of a right to retirement health insurance benefits … .
Additionally, the Supreme Court properly found that the Town was not barred by the doctrine of promissory estoppel from reducing the appellants’ retirement health insurance benefits … . To establish promissory estoppel, a party must prove a clear and unambiguous promise, reasonable and foreseeable reliance by the party to whom the promise is made, and an injury sustained in reliance on that promise … . Here, even assuming the appellants proved a clear and unambiguous promise, they failed to establish reliance thereon … .
However, the Supreme Court erred in determining that the Town was not required to contribute any amount for the retirement health insurance benefits of former Board members who retired prior to July 1, 2012. Civil Service Law § 167(2) provides, in relevant part, that participating employers, such as the Town, are required to contribute 50% of the cost of premiums for retired employees, and 35% of the cost of coverage for their dependents. … [T]he Town may not reduce its contribution rates below the legally mandated minimums … . Matter of Weaver v Town of N. Castle, 2017 NY Slip Op 05960, Second Dept 8-2-17
MUNICIPAL LAW (HEALTH INSURANCE, MUNICIPAL RESOLUTION DID NOT CREATE A VESTED CONTRACTUAL RIGHT TO HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS FOR RETIRED TOWN EMPLOYEES (SECOND DEPT))/EMPLOYMENT LAW (MUNICIPAL LAW, HEALTH INSURANCE, MUNICIPAL RESOLUTION DID NOT CREATE A VESTED CONTRACTUAL RIGHT TO HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS FOR RETIRED TOWN EMPLOYEES (SECOND DEPT))/HEALTH INSURANCE (MUNICIPAL LAW, EMPLOYMENT LAW, MUNICIPAL RESOLUTION DID NOT CREATE A VESTED CONTRACTUAL RIGHT TO HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS FOR RETIRED TOWN EMPLOYEES (SECOND DEPT))