Second special master appointed to SRHS pension fund case - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Second special master appointed to SRHS pension fund case

Once again, the hearing concluded with a lot of attorneys talking, but no end to Singing River Health System's pension fund crisis in sight. (Photo source WLOX) Once again, the hearing concluded with a lot of attorneys talking, but no end to Singing River Health System's pension fund crisis in sight. (Photo source WLOX)
One thing special appointed Judge Breland Hilburn believes will help is having a second special master to expedite the process. (Photo source WLOX) One thing special appointed Judge Breland Hilburn believes will help is having a second special master to expedite the process. (Photo source WLOX)
Since talk about the termination of the health system's pension plan surfaced, money has been tight and lifestyles have had to changed, putting some at risk of losing everything. (Photo source WLOX) Since talk about the termination of the health system's pension plan surfaced, money has been tight and lifestyles have had to changed, putting some at risk of losing everything. (Photo source WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Friday's hearing involving Singing River Health System and its sinking pension fund did very little to help the hospital's retirees keep their heads above water. Some of those retirees attended the hearing. They hoped the legal proceedings would steer them toward a life boat that just might pull them out of what has become a financial mess.

Once again, the hearing concluded with a lot of attorneys talking, but no end to Singing River Health System's pension fund crisis in sight.

"We cannot wait for the day that justice is served, and these retirees deserve no less than 100 percent of their retirement plan," said Sabrina Smith, who's the daughter of a retiree.

Since talk about the termination of the health system's pension plan surfaced, money has been tight and lifestyles have had to changed, putting some at risk of losing everything.

"I did not know any of this was going on, and last July, I decided to remodel my home. I put a lot of money into it when I didn't owe anybody, and now I owe. If my retirement is taken away, then I'm going to have a problem hanging on to my home," retiree Cynthia Almond said.

The lawsuit against the health system has been something not only retirees have had to adjust to, but their families as well.

"It breaks my heart, because she devoted her life to that hospital. They promised her pension to the day she died, and as her daughter, my husband and I have stepped up and tried to help them where we could. We've been here supporting the retirees and doing whatever we can to help out," Smith said.

One thing special appointed Judge Breland Hilburn believes will help is having a second special master to expedite the process, because there's just too many documents that need to be gone through with a fine-toothed comb. That idea is encouraging news to retirees who hope the decision will get them one step closer to receiving what is owed to them.

"I did what I promised them I would do, and now all I'm expecting them to do is promise what they promised me, which was a monthly benefit for my lifetime. If I'm gone tomorrow then I'm gone tomorrow, but if I live to be 95, I need a monthly income," Almond said.

The attorneys present in the court room couldn't agree among themselves to have an appointed special master, so Hilburn appointed Robert Sneed, of Jackson.

The next court date is set for July 13 at 1 p.m.

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