Special Master: Settlement deal on SRHS pension plan to come in - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Special Master: Settlement deal on SRHS pension plan to come in 7-10 days

Special Master Britt Singletary appointed an independent trustee, former Circuit Court Judge Steve Simpson, to oversee the pension. (Photo source: WLOX) Special Master Britt Singletary appointed an independent trustee, former Circuit Court Judge Steve Simpson, to oversee the pension. (Photo source: WLOX)
After nearly a year long fight to get the pension benefits they were promised, an announcement of a settlement deal between the health system and retirees is close at hand. (Photo source: WLOX) After nearly a year long fight to get the pension benefits they were promised, an announcement of a settlement deal between the health system and retirees is close at hand. (Photo source: WLOX)

After nearly a year long fight to get the pension benefits they were promised, Tuesday a judge told Singing River Health System retirees they should sleep restfully from now on. Special Master Britt Singletary appointed an independent trustee, former Circuit Court Judge Steve Simpson, to oversee the pension. And he said an announcement of a settlement deal between the health system and retirees is close at hand.

"What we believe was the root of a lot of the problem was there was nobody on behalf of the pension holders or the pension members to look out for their interest alone," said Jim Reeves, who represents some of the retirees. "Now we have that person in place who is a watchdog, so to speak, for the pension holders." 

Retirees who had packed into the hearing also heard encouraging words from Special Master Britt Singletary. He said the outgoing trustees have already resigned pending the appointment of the special fiduciary. He said Simpson will be getting with the outgoing trustees and the transition will take some time because the funds are now in three different banks and will be moved to the Peoples Bank in Biloxi as part of its trust department.

Singletary also spoke of what he said is a soon to be announce deal. 

"All sides have agreed to a settlement that is going to be 100 percent payout. I think in a week to 10 days we'll be announcing a settlement," Singletary said. "I told the retirees to go home and sleep restfully tonight. They wear shirts that say 'Do the Right Thing', and everybody is trying to do the right thing here."

Attorneys representing retirees said they were hopeful. 

"We've got Judge Singletary who guarantees us we're going to get 100 percent of the plan back," said attorney Earl Denham."I'm sure he's a man of his word and won't break it. I don't know where he's going to get the money, but I'm sure he'll find it and people will help him."

Attorney Jim Reeves said, "We've been engaged in intensive negotiations. Several rounds of mediation involving the federal and state courts. We are cautiously optimistic we will have a really good announcement here in short order." 

After a year of courtroom battles and pickets lines, retirees are weary but determined to press on. Melba Richardson, a retiree, said the process was "very frustrating. Very, very, very frustrating. We are tired, but we are not giving up."

Retiree Kitty Aguilar said, "I certainly hope they can do the job that the judge promised in there. That would be a welcome thing. I have my doubts that it will happen, but we're certainly looking forward to it if they can manage to pull it off."

Singing River Health System attorneys said they look forward to working with Judge Simpson in the future management of the trust.   

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.  

  • NEWSMore>>

  • USS Fitzgerald arrives in South Mississippi

    USS Fitzgerald arrives in South Mississippi

    Friday, January 19 2018 12:30 PM EST2018-01-19 17:30:09 GMT
    The USS Fitzgerald arrived in South Mississippi Friday morning for repairs at Ingalls Shipyard. (Source: WLOX)The USS Fitzgerald arrived in South Mississippi Friday morning for repairs at Ingalls Shipyard. (Source: WLOX)

    Outlined against the sun, the USS Fitzgerald painted a patriotic picture of American strength as it churned through the water, heading to the Port of Pascagoula. 

    More >>

    Outlined against the sun, the USS Fitzgerald painted a patriotic picture of American strength as it churned through the water, heading to the Port of Pascagoula. 

    More >>
  • Coast cities make up top 4 affordable beach towns in U.S.

    Coast cities make up top 4 affordable beach towns in U.S.

    Friday, January 19 2018 12:16 PM EST2018-01-19 17:16:15 GMT
    Coast cities are some of the most affordable beach towns to visit, according to one website. (Source: WLOX)Coast cities are some of the most affordable beach towns to visit, according to one website. (Source: WLOX)

    Four South Mississippi cities are taking top spots in a survey of the most affordable beach towns in America. Topping that list is Gulfport, which comes in the number one spot. Biloxi snagged the number three spot, with Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs following at numbers five and six, respectively.  SmartAsset - a website aimed at helping people with their finances - has conducted the survey for the past three years, with Gulfport topping the list for each of those. "This...

    More >>

    Four South Mississippi cities are taking top spots in a survey of the most affordable beach towns in America. Topping that list is Gulfport, which comes in the number one spot. Biloxi snagged the number three spot, with Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs following at numbers five and six, respectively.  SmartAsset - a website aimed at helping people with their finances - has conducted the survey for the past three years, with Gulfport topping the list for each of those. "This...

    More >>
  • Silver Alert issued for 86-year-old woman missing from Columbus

    Silver Alert issued for 86-year-old woman missing from Columbus

    Friday, January 19 2018 11:01 AM EST2018-01-19 16:01:58 GMT
    Source: MBISource: MBI

    A Silver Alert has been issued for an 86-year-old woman from Columbus. 

    More >>

    A Silver Alert has been issued for an 86-year-old woman from Columbus. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly