SRHS retirees still fighting for full benefits one year later - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

SRHS retirees still fighting for full benefits one year later

Two supervisors have been voted out of office in the wake of the SRHS mess. Two others face challenges in tomorrow's election. (Photo source: WLOX) Two supervisors have been voted out of office in the wake of the SRHS mess. Two others face challenges in tomorrow's election. (Photo source: WLOX)
Retirees we talked with today say they're feeling more optimistic about their financial futures after a year of legal wrangling over the future of the pension fund. (Photo source: WLOX) Retirees we talked with today say they're feeling more optimistic about their financial futures after a year of legal wrangling over the future of the pension fund. (Photo source: WLOX)
Retirees say they will continue to fight for 100 percent of the benefits promised to them, no matter how long it takes. (Photo source: WLOX) Retirees say they will continue to fight for 100 percent of the benefits promised to them, no matter how long it takes. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

It was a typical Jackson County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday, with a room full of Singing River Health System retirees. There was one difference though. Just before the meeting began, the retirees staged a mini-protest outside, complete with signs.

Has progress been made? Irby Tillman is a retiree. 

“I feel like we have come a long way, and I feel like us getting in the street and picketing has kept the pressure on these public officials, and we're not going to give up,” Tillman said.

Kitty Aguilar is another retiree. 

“I feel pretty good. I think there's a lot more work to be done. We've still got to continue with this movement and keeping the public informed about what's going on with the pension,” Aguilar explained.

The retirees know there is strength in numbers, according to Johnnie Clausell. 

“We stick together and plan our action, and we get in there and do what we've got to do. We don't know how much further we're going to have to go,” Clausell said.

Despite the protest signs that many of the retirees held outside of the board of supervisors meeting, many of them said they are feeling a little bit better about their financial futures.

However, some like retiree Ed Manning you simply cannot put in that camp. 

“I'm still aggravated. We've got supervisors that are supporting the lawyers and the administration at the hospital. They are teaming up to make sure we don't get what we deserve,” Manning lamented.

While some supervisors have been critical of the legal battle, the retirees are not, according to Manning. 

“If it hadn't been for the retirees’ lawyers, we wouldn't have a pension fund to fight for,” said Manning. 

They also want more change on the board of supervisors, with the power of the vote.

“It won't take just a few minutes just to walk in and put your name on that ballot. So, please vote tomorrow,” said Clausell.

Despite the gains made in the past year, there is still one prevalent feeling, Aguilar said. 

“We're still very worried about our future, and I think everybody is,” said Aguilar.

Meanwhile, settlement talks to try and end the legal battles over the pension fund are continuing.  The next court hearing concerning those negotiations is set for Dec. 2.

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