Jackson District 5 Supervisor John McKay on SRHS Pension Plan

Many people agree that Singing River retirees have been dealt an unfair hand with the loss of their pensions and that the health systems recent offer to fund 88% is still not enough.
What is the perspective of Jackson County supervisors who have been in the middle of the battle? Today, News 25’s Kristen Durand spoke with District 5 Supervisors John McKay.
Throughout the Singing River’s pension debacle, District 5 Supervisor John McKay says he and the board have strived to preserve the future of the county they swore to serve, all while finding a balance between protecting the hospital, its 2200 jobs and the retirees and their pensions.
McKay said, “I want to get them every dime we can possibly get out of that without bankrupting the hospital system and causing it to go bankrupt or causing it to default on its loans because when that happens, every taxpayer in this county’s taxes are going up, including the retirees.”
And with this being an election year, McKay says don’t buy into hype from candidates looking to capitalize on a vulnerable situation, making promises they cannot legally enforce: “because some of my opponents have said that, that if we have to, we’ll raise taxes, I’ll guarantee you’ll get 100% of your money. Well, it’s against the law to put tax dollars in a private pension fund which that is and so I’m not going to vote to raise taxes,” said McKay.
McKay wants voters to look at the bigger picture when making their decisions at the polls: “Jackson County is in better shape than most other counties in the state and it’s because of the leadership this board of supervisors has provided through the economic development, the port authority, the airport and the other different agencies that are under the umbrella of Jackson County.”
McKay also wants to clear up details in the $350,000 the county has spent in attorney fees with Billy Guice. He said, “The 350 was paid to him but then he’s turned around at our request and hired auditors, forensic accountants, he’s hired a turnaround specialist that can look at the hospital system and see where they can make money, where they can’t make money and so he’s taken that 350 that we have actually paid him and then turned around and paid about 3 or 4 different agencies or different companies to help us come up with the plans and the solutions that we’re trying to come up with.”

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