City of Mesa offers lifetime health benefits to eligible city employees

Benefits become important recruiting tool in competitive job market
Employees who complete 20 years of service with the city are eligible for the benefits.
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 12:07 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:23 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- As the cost of living rises around the country and especially throughout the Valley, many municipalities are finding it difficult to recruit and retain talented and hard-working employees. One Valley city is now aiming to bring back an old recruiting technique -- lifetime benefits -- to help it compete in this hot jobs market.

“The Mesa Way has always been to take care of our employees by offering competitive salaries and benefits so they can take care of themselves and their families,” said Mesa City Manager Chris Brady. By offering lifetime health benefits to eligible employees who complete 20 years of service with the city, officials say they’re doing exactly that. In order to qualify employees must work for the city for 10 consecutive years prior to retirement.

“We are in a very competitive market when it comes to employees, City of Mesa employees a lot of different kinds of people, I mean not just police officers but firefighters but engineers and doctors and lawyers, and accountants and really there’s not a profession that doesn’t work for the City of Mesa,” Mayor John Giles said. Mayor Giles said the city can afford to do it because the economy is good and sales tax revenue is up.

It’s a benefit that was offered to employees before the city had to cut $62 million from the General Fund when the recession hit more than ten years ago. Since then, the availability of those benefits had been greatly restricted. This recent announcement ensures that all city employees, who have at least ten consecutive years of service, have the ability to take care of their physical and mental health.

Mesa currently covers 80% of eligible retirees’ medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums. About 70% of the city’s 3,900 employees have been hired since Jan. 1, 2009, and could be eligible for retirement health care benefits as early as 2029. Mayor Giles said the city would start saving for it this year, putting aside $26 million from the General Fund.