Singing River Health System retirees still looking for answers after meeting

Singing River Health System retirees still looking for answers after meeting

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Current and future Singing River Health System retirees attended a meeting Monday and left with the same unanswered questions they walked in with.

Less than a week ago, news broke that Singing River Hospital underfunded their retirement plan. Since 2009, the hospital has not been contributing their portion to employee pensions.

Three local attorneys decided to hold a community meeting for anyone affected by the recent news, after they received numerous amounts of calls asking for advice. While dozens came out to get answers, it seems that many left even more frustrated than they came.

"There's a lot of people that are extremely frustrated. They want answers and we were able to give them some answers. There were some we were not able to give them. I think it was productive," said Attorney Monte Tynes.

Hands raised high, the questions came one after the other, but sadly, many of them went unanswered.

"I could have probably just stayed home and know as much then, as I do now," said one retiree.

Jackson County attorneys Keith Miller, Monte Tynes, and Dustin Thomas say they organized the meeting to advise those affected by this situation about their legal options, but Tynes admits they don't know much more about the situation than the retirees do.

"They haven't voluntarily given the employees any information, and the only way to do it is to force them to do it and that is through a lawsuit and through the courthouse," said Tynes.

With the lack of answers to their questions, many people left the meeting still frustrated and confused.

"Emotionally, I'm not feeling very well at all. Me and my family are possibly facing a financial catastrophe," a retiree said.

"I been retired for about 11 years, and I depend on this income. I'm really sad." said Brenda Island with tears in her eyes.

The attorneys did pass out contracts to those who attended the meeting in case anyone wanted to move forward with obtaining legal counsel right away, but the majority of the crowd seemed leery of making that decision now.

"They may not be ready to go forward with a lawsuit or litigation, but ultimately we feel like that's where this is going to end up and we would like to represent as many people as we can ," said Tynes.

Monday morning, several former and retired Singing River Health System employees attended a Jackson County Board of Supervisors meeting where they asked supervisors to conduct an independent audit of the health system. The board voted to take the request under advisement.

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