JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - For the fifth time, a 10 day temporary restraining order was issued Monday preventing officials with Singing River Health System from terminating the financially troubled pension plan.
Chancery Judge Neil Harris granted the motion by a system retiree following a two hour hearing. And just like in the past four cases, attorneys for the health system will ask to have the case moved to federal court.
Before a standing room only crowd, Ralph Drury, 84, testified he worked for Singing River for 32 years, and draws a monthly retirement check of about $2,000. That check is now in jeopardy.
"It's sad to start with, all these people are being hurt," Drury said. "This thing has affected thousands of people and we've got to do something about it, some way, some how."
In addition to the TRO, plaintiff attorneys also filed motions concerning the make-up of the system board of trustees, since questions have been raised about where some of the trustees live, according to Earl Denham.
"We've added in to this particular complaint some additional state issues, and that is whether or not the board is validly constituted, and whether or not it was validly constituted when it voted on this thing," Denham explained.
Sabrina Smith was a surprise witness. She attended the Jackson County Board of Supervisors meeting, and testified about an agreement between the supervisors and trustees preventing the liquidation of the pension plan for up to 90 days.
"I was wanting to let the judge know that the agreement between the board of trustees and the board of supervisors is not legally binding," Smith said.
Meanwhile, frustration is mounting for the crowd of retirees who show up at every hearing. One of them is Jerry Holtz.
"Well, quite personally, it is frustrating because I don't think that the people at large in Jackson County are being given the right kind of information to make a decision."
Another is Susan Creel, who is set to retire later this year.
"It's made me have to rearrange everything I do, how I'm going to do my retirement, and it's very frustrating. It seems like we're always behind the eight ball," Creel said.
Officials with the health system had no comment Monday evening, referring us to a written statement issued last month, stating that while litigation is underway, they would have nothing more to say.