Pension Plan Answers

Last week, Singing River Hospital retirees had the chance to vocalize issues and concerns regarding their pension plan during a Q&A session at the Jackson County Board of Supervisors meeting. Today, the board addressed those issues in hopes to clear up miscommunication.
Jackson County Board Attorney Paula Stemnett-Yancey addressed several issues brought up in last week’s meeting by Singing River retirees, such as pension plan calculations, challenges for the future and what the county can and cannot do about it. “When you walk out of here, I hope you can say I know more today. I understand better today."
Stemnett-Yancey says the hospital would not pay more than $3 million per year into the pension plan, making it harder to find a solution. “As the pension comes down, the cost to fix it goes up. That’s a challenge because that basically means the quicker you find a solution, the better it is for everybody.”
Jackson County Board of Supervisors proposed that a meeting between retirees and the hospital would be another step in the right direction. Some retirees feel that it shouldn’t be them meeting with the hospital, but their lawyers instead. “Y’all want us and the hospital to get together? No, it’s time for the hospital and the lawyers to get together. Whether it’s four or five retirees there or not, they don’t speak for me. That’s my money, I speak for myself,” said Patti Boutwell, a SRHS retiree.
Retirees are thankful some questions have been answered but feel this explanation is eight months too late. “There’s a lot more to be done. All we get is vague promises. They say ‘allegedly’ and ‘supposedly’ but we never get any concrete answers,” said retiree Paul Wise.
Jackson County District 5 Supervisor John McKay told the retirees the reason for the lack of information: “The disappointment in this today is only that we have been told, for legal reasons that we didn’t need to say these types of things out here. That’s where the transparency issue kept coming in.”
After the meeting, Jackson County board members met with retirees for an additional hour to discuss more solutions.

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