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Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Orleans' 2014 budget projections show sharp increase in workers’ compensation costs

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The cost of administering the city of New Orleans workers’ compensation program is projected to increase sharply next year — nearly six times for some employees, according to 2014 budget projections shared with The Lens.

On Thursday, Courtney Bagneris, the city’s interim risk manager, is expected to give the City Council budget committee a preliminary report on an audit of the program, said Lauren Hotard, a spokeswoman for Councilwoman Stacy Head. That should include some explanation for the increase, she said.

$16 million

Budgeted for workers’ comp claims in 2013

$24 million

Expected claims in 2013

City Budget Director Cary Grant told the budget committee in August that the city was experiencing a “large uptick” in workers’ compensation claims this year. The city budgeted $16 million for such expenses this year; he said he expected claims to exceed $24 million.

While significant, that’s nowhere near the sixfold increase projected in next year’s budget, from about $300 to $1,700 per employee. Grant did not address the 2014 projections in his presentation.
Such an increase would cost the city about $2.5 million more in next year’s budget of about $500 million.

Head revealed 
the 2014 price jump during an Aug. 30 Lens live chat on the city’s 2014 budget, writing that the Council Fiscal Office had just informed councilmembers of the increase for their staff’s personnel costs. “We don’t...
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