Jackson County Board of Supervisor Attorney Speaks on His Investigation in the SRHS

The Singing River pension plan was unsustainable from the beginning, that’s what attorney Billy Guice is saying.
Over $354,000 is how much Jackson County has spent on the Singing River Health System Investigation. At the head of that investigation is attorney Billy Guice, hired by the Jackson County Board of Supervisors to get to the bottom of the underfunded pension plan.
“End of the fiscal year 2007, $152 million in pension trust. End of the calendar year, there was slightly more. It was in good shape. It was about 97 percent in change funded,” said Guice.
And for reasons Guice is unsure about, the hospital did not invest wisely, focusing on high risk investments instead of stable ones: “The equity investment began. That private equity investment grew that made it more exposed for what was to come and that’s the 2008 downfall.”
In 2008, funding for the pension plan began to decline, partially due to market loss. And in 2009 when Singing River realized a $26 million loss was mounting, they gave up trying to play catch up.
Guice said, “Nothing anyone could have done about it. It’s there in writing. There are other grounds for termination, some automatic. Had they basically owned up that we’ve lost this money and for this reason, we’re going to terminate. We would not be sitting here today.”
Under the terms of the pension plan, Singing River could have terminated the plan back in 2009.
Ultimately, Guice says Singing River stopped contributing to the pension plan because of the multiplying costs of the pension, market losses and the health systems financial position overall.
Guice tells News 25 that his investigation on Singing River Health System will continue. He’s unsure just how long it will take.He says the Board of Supervisors will not raise taxes because of this problem.

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