- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) - The Gaston County board of commissioners has reversed course on a plan that would have allowed members to obtain taxpayer subsidized health insurance for life after they leave office.

Multiple media outlets reported that the board voted Tuesday to abandon a plan approved last month that would have allowed members to buy taxpayer subsidized health insurance for their entire lives if they had served on the board at least four years.

The board voted unanimously to reject the previous unanimous vote allowing the coverage.

Board Chairman Tracy Pullbeck said there was confusion over the earlier vote.

“It was never the intention of this board to ask the community to subsidize our health insurance,” Pullbeck said.

About 50 people attended this week’s meeting to complain about the earlier vote.

“You should be ashamed because I’m ashamed of you,” said Virginia Feimster.

Commissioner Tom Keigher said he regretted his initial vote almost as soon as he had cast it.

“It was not a clear understanding on my part the cost it was going to cost taxpayers,” Keigher said. He said he thought commissioner would pay the full cost of the coverage.

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