SRHS Retirees Picket on Hwy. 90 in Ocean Springs
Friday, Phyllis Denmark, a retiree, was one of dozens of retirees picketing along Highway 90 over the loss of their pensions. After several months of fighting and still no clear answers from Jackson County or S.R.H.S. on how they’ll replenish their lost pension funds, Denmark says she has some suggestions. She says, “All those execs who make six figures should take a pay cut.”
After a series of lawsuits, retirees are currently receiving their checks temporarily. Come March, those checks will no longer be coming in. Denmark also says, "That’s what worries me is that a lot of our retirees are on medication that they need every day to save their lives and now this hospital system has put their lives and their health in jeopardy."
S.R.H.S. officially stopped contributing to the pension plan in 2009. As retirees continue to fight for the money they say is rightfully theirs, the question remains: where is that money going to come from? If the responsibility to replace missing funds ultimately falls on the county, some of the supervisors’ options include cutting funds from other programs or increasing county taxes. Jean Manning, another S.R.H.S. retiree, says, "It shouldn’t have to come from the taxpayers. This is not a taxpayer problem. This is Singing River’s problem."
Denmark says, "What was the reason you stopped funding the pension plan? What was more important than these retirees and their health or our future?"
A criminal investigation is still being conducted on the health system, but as of now, no repayment plan has been established and until one is, retirees like Denmark will continue to fight.