Running a bureaucracy can get expensive.
Especially, if you’re kind of a bleeding heart libertarian.
But generalizations aside, Payson Mayor Kenny Evans left Thursday’s council meeting $100 poorer after slapping down a quick solution to a festering problem.
The incident stemmed from a neat little quandary posed by the town’s Housing Committee’s effort to participate in the “Rock and Roll Paintathon” — an effort to enlist volunteers to spruce up run down housing in town.
The Housing Committee was all for joining in on the sixth annual event to deploy volunteers to paint and fix up houses for elderly and low-income residents, but hit a snag.
Suppose some volunteer fell off a ladder and sued?
The town has been making an effort lately to not only reduce liability, but reduce the costs of special events, including enforcing a condition that requires people using town facilities for special events to pay for their own insurance policy or pay a $100 fee to get a temporary rider on the town’s underlying insurance policy.
The town participates in a statewide, self-insurance “risk pool” along with many other cities and towns to provide basic liability coverage.
The housing committee consulted the pool’s risk manager, who said the paintathon people would have to provide coverage.
The paintathon folks said they had their own insurance coverage, but that insurance policy had all kinds of limitations the town staff didn’t like —including a high deductible and a cap on damages it would pay.
“It pains me to say, we’ve been unable to find a solution,” said Beth Beck, the town’s housing program manager.
As it turns out, the town council had just taken a run around the dog park, figuring out how supporters of the dog park could hold an event of their own. So Mayor Evans knew about the $100 fee that would allow a non-profit group to piggyback on the town’s insurance.
“It costs just $100 for an entity to get coverage as an additional insured for volunteers,” he said.
“But the risk manager wanted the organization to provide its own verification of insurance,” said Beck.
“They don’t have $100?” asked Evans.
“The insurance this organization provides ... it turns out that the insurance only goes into effect after the person’s personal insurance is depleted —and then only up to $25,000.”
“If it’s $100 holding them up, then it’s paid for,” said Evans, taking a $100 bill out of his wallet and thumping it down on the table.
“Surely this has come up for them in other communities,” said Councilor John Wilson.
“In other communities, it was not a town organization sponsoring it. We were actually putting the town on the line.”
Councilman Ed Blair then waded in. “I move the housing committee accept the mayor’s $100 bill.”
But Councilor Croy spotted a loophole and added “… and approve the event.”
“That’s right,” quipped Evans, “don’t accept the money if you don’t approve the event.”
Done and done.