DART Delays Vote on Domestic Partner Benefits After Board Members Walk Out in Protest
At some point, after a year-plus of hand-wringing and delays, the push for DART to offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees took on an air of inevitability. Two weeks ago, the DART board's administrative committee overwhelmingly voted to move forward with a "plus-one" plan, allowing unmarried employees to cover one unrelated adult. On Tuesday, DART's committee of the whole, comprised of all 15 board members, did the same, all but ensuring final passage at the regular DART board meeting later in the day.
DART Randall Chrisman, left, and Michael Cheney
But then, board members Michael Cheney and Randall Chrisman walked out, leaving the already depleted board without the 10-person quorum required to take a vote.
Chrisman, a commercial real estate broker appointed to the board by the cities of Carrollton and Irving, couched his opposition in terms of legal and financial uncertainties.
He told The Dallas Morning News that the "plus-one" police was an attempt to "get around the law" and that he's concerned about the impact of rising healtcare costs on the agency.
"They still can't tell me how much the numbers are going to be," Chrisman told the paper. "There are just more unknowns than knowns."
Cheney, a businessman representing the city of Garland, has not commented publicly.
The walkout seems unlikely to kill the proposal, which should have the support to pass at the board meeting on October 8, when it's likely that fewer than four of the other board members will be absent.
Resource Center Dallas, which has been leading the outside push for benefits, promised as much on Facebook:
Bottom line: the vastly-outnumbered opposition tried a parliamentary tactic at the last minute to force a delay. They got their delay, this stunt will backfire and will instead stiffen the resolve of our supporters. Next year's budget, which was approved unanimously, has the money in it to offer the benefits program. So, the Center urges you to mark the evening of October 8 on your calendars. Show up wearing read to the DART board meeting. Stay tuned; this isn't over yet.