Other Voices | Windy Taylor: Singing River Health System Retirees Need Your Help

I am a former employee of Singing River Health System that is vested in the pension plan. Three thousand plus pension plan enrollees and I need help. Why you may ask? Because the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi, Jim Hood, is allowing our employer and holder of our retirement fund to rob us of our retirement and the cover up of the missing $150 million dollars that should have been deposited into the pension trust fund between 2009 – 2014.

Now we are all losing our retirement. The hospital is county owned and the second largest employer in the Jackson County Mississippi. SRHS has “flipped” an attorney with 17 plan participates into forcing a class action suit on us that has the effect of giving the people who spent or took our retirement a get out of jail free card, to never be charged for any wrong doing. This is the crime! The hospital administrator and the County have called all their favors in and apparently, the Attorney General owed someone a favor. This is dirty politics at its best.

Let me explain the “flipped”. A law firm representing 17 clients was chosen by Singing River Health System and various judges in the county to be the law firm to represent all pension participants even though one group of us, 261 strong, have our own attorneys who have actively fought for us in State Court, unlike the chosen firm. We are not being properly represented by this ‘chosen’ firm. The ‘chosen’ firm sold out the retirees in exchange for a promised $6.5 million attorney fee from Singing River Hospital System approved by the Jackson County Board of Supervisors.

This scandal began long ago, in the early 1980s when Singing River Health System (the Jackson County owned hospital) opted out of PERS and began their own pension plan. Employees funded the plan at 3% of their paycheck and after vesting (10 years of full-time employment) they were guaranteed a pension for life. Upon their death, they could elect to have a spousal beneficiary should they decide to only take 80% at the time of their retirement, and many did in order to protect their spouses.

Singing River Health System was supposed to contribute to the Plan “from time to time” in an amount determined by the actuaries as to what was needed to keep the Plan solvent. In 2009, Singing River Health System quit funding the Plan altogether. To hide that fact, they mailed each participant an individualized beautiful printed glossy pamphlet each year showing in what great shape their Plan was and how much the hospital “contributed for that year”. These so called account statements were nothing but a pack of lies. Continue reading “Other Voices | Windy Taylor: Singing River Health System Retirees Need Your Help”