JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of Singing River Health System retirees have a little more peace of mind tonight than they had last night. A stay order from a judge guaranteed they will continue to receive their pension checks at least until March 15.
Jackson County supervisors announced last month they reached a deal with Singing River Health System not to dissolve the pension plan for three months, but that agreement was not a court agreement.
At the time, some retirees and their attorneys said unless there was an order signed by a judge, they were skeptical.
On Thursday, retirees got the formal documents they wanted after a federal judge signed off on a stay order. In that order, all parties agree the pension will not be dissolved for 90 days, starting from Dec. 15, the same day the agreement between SRHS and the supervisors began.
Federal court documents indicate during that time, retirees will be paid their pensions, and Singing River is not to destroy any documents related to the retirement fund. WLOX talked with several retirees Thursday.
"I'm glad they can't shred any documents," Trudy Nelson said.
Meanwhile, Phyllis Denmark, who retired after 22 years of working for SRHS, said after Singing River trustees failed to resign at the request of supervisors earlier this week, she lost faith the trustees would adhere to the agreement with the county not to dissolve the pension.
"I'm glad we got the 90 day stay from the judge that will stop them from doing anything to the pension," said Denmark.
Retirees we spoke with made it clear they're looking at the long term picture.
"The only way it's going to be hashed out is they are going to have to fund our pension fully, or we're going to keep suing. That's the way I feel about it," said Jean Manning.
The stay order also says if Singing River Health System does extend its agreement with Jackson County, then its attorneys will meet with the plaintiffs' attorneys to also discuss extending the court ordered agreement.