City Council passes $2 million ‘safety net’ for retirees

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- City council members have approved what they're calling a cushion to help retirees affected by the benefits cuts.

This $2 million 'safety net' will create a retiree health care fund, council members say.

George Little said, "We want to make sure that everyone is taken care of, whether it's someone that's been disabled in the line of duty or whether it's someone who's retired pre-65."

"If it turns out that someone needs help with their detectable with their co-pay, these funds could be available to deal with that situation," he added.

However, veteran city employees like firefighter George Langston see it as just a Band-Aid, one that cannot begin to cover the gaping wound council opened.

"We just want what we were promised," Langston said.

Tuesday, city employees once again rallied to protest a decision to cut healthcare subsidies, in order to avoid raising taxes.

"We don't have any security anymore," Langston said. "By taking our insurance away they've ruined it."

The administration has 60 days to come back and say who will be eligible. Retirees will have to apply to "help determine (their) level of need."

Retired police and fire, family members, and supporters all came out Tuesday to show how fed up they are with the city. Langston wanted his voice heard loud and clear.

"They cannot survive with this," he said. "There's no way."

The money for the fund will come from Cigna, which the city says will then rebate the money to Memphis over the next few years. BlueCross BlueShield will also be an option.

Council members say they'll continue to discuss the plan next week.

The city says it will hold meetings to "provide retirees and their families with opportunities to ask questions and to be provided with one-on-one counseling regarding recent changes to their benefits."

Retirees will also receive information via mail, phone calls, social media, individual appointments and an informational website.


  • Doctor

    There is nothing that is FREE. Somehow the insurance company will make the money back (and will add in a profit for themselves). The taxpayer will end up getting the bill again. How come regular citizens never get a bailout? When a regular person retires he is on his own.

    • Fred

      This is not a bail out!!!. This is a smoke screen to fool the public into thinking that the city is doing the “right” thing. This money will do nothing to help retirees. There are about 10,000 retirees so basically they will each get $15 to help off set the 1,700 per month insurance premiums. Do the math!! These men and women fulfilled their contract and now the city needs to fulfill theirs.

      • Mike

        And don’t forget to demand that the seven council members along with Wharton and George little explain where the 67 million dollars a year is that they no longer pay to the schools. Also over 400 city workers have quit or retired in the past year alone. That amounts to over 25 million dollars a year in personnel savings. Where is that money?

  • Phil

    This problem is, as typical, politically caused. 30 years ago, accountants and financial folk across the country, were warning that typical pension plans for public employees, could and would face funding problems, as designed. The 401K plan was offered as an alternative, and allowed individuals to actively invest in their own retirement plans, along with sharing some of the investment risks. Municipal plans however, were not changed, as politicians think only of re-election. (short-term) Employee Unions now expect these plans to pay off, as promised.

    Enter 6 years of the worst National Presidential leadership in American history. Add, the worst and longest recession in U.S. History. Add, the worst, and most selfish Congressional lawmakers ever. Add,….local, openly racist, politicians, (example: Henri Brooks), who care only for a cushy gobermint job, and will seek, “by any means necessary,” to secure and maintain power. (who can blame her in this economy?) What is left in Memphis, is a dwindling tax base that was/is unwelcome and scorned. (“East Memphis Devils”) What is left, is a Memphis Police Department that has been devastated by civil lawsuits that froze officer promotion opportunities. We have a Police Union, formerly of corrupted leadership, that struggles to maintain relevance. MPD has a mid-level management vacuum that allows for little oversight and counseling of new officers. (No Captains!) We thus provide every major department in the country to hand pick the cream of the crop from the ongoing City investment in hiring, training, and growing qualified Police personnel. The tax money, as in Detroit, is drying up!

    Enjoy your planned “UTOPIA,” Memphis. Progressive America is anything but.

  • takenobull

    Now is the time for ALL city employees to go on strike. The city just spent 40 million dollars to lay concrete at the foot of Beale street so drunks can look at the river. They spent millions so the rich can go to watch baseball knowing the average tax payer cannot afford to go. The city spends millions on bull stuff and not one dime to fix a pot hole.


    I know they hated to reveal they ‘found’ this money. It was destined for some of the Memphis & Shelby County crooks pockets.

  • Joe

    Ive got news for you… other city is using MPD as a well fro talent…..their union would like you to believe its so…but its not.

    Wanna fix this problem? Then know that there is no quick fix…..Wake up and realize that the issue is ignorant politicians who continue to vote for pay packages that are unrealistic from the beginning. But the majority of politicians are cowards who couldnt make a tough decision with a gun to their head.

    So the citizens created this problem with their apathy……and their greed.

  • Bill Zebub

    Where did they get 2 Millions Dollars? I’ll ask my Councilman Jim Strickland. I’ll ask, he won’t reply but I’ll ask.

  • Get Informed

    Pensions are not bad. That is the spew of the uneducated and uninformed. There are plenty of private businesses with successful pension plan to this day. I recently spoke to a pension attorney that explained all he works with is private company pensions. The city employees contribute large amounts into their pension fund by payroll deduction. They paid their part. The city was paying just over 6%, well they were supposed to , they didn’t for years and that spawned this whole problem. Even the city council expert said if the city had contributed correctly there would be no reason for him to be here. This is not a pension that lets you out in 20 years, it does not pay 100 % of salary, its closer to half. It requires massive contributions by the employees. So don’s spout this is some unbelievable deal. Check out Orlando police depts pension, or Austin Texas. Their pensions blow our city pension off the map. By the way the city. because it participates in the pension, does not participate in social security, so no police or firemen will receive that. All they have is a pension that has now basically been cut in half if one wants to have insurance. All you civilians that want pain on the fire and police departments are getting your wish. Atlanta dumped their pension in 1998 and brought it back 4 years later when they found what a huge mistake that was. I am concerned this place could be too far gone before that mistake is realized. It matters who you have as police and fire employees. We should be trying to get the best. Right now our compensation package is gearing up to get gang members. i really hope that doesn’t happen for all our sakes.

  • Get Informed

    oh and this “safety net” is likened to raping someone and then taking them to a fast food resteraunt for a dollar value meal.. It is a massive spit in the face. Surely nobody thinks this saved any face in all this mess?

  • michelle

    The city council just approved another worthless project for $70 million dollars.

    The Graceland Guest Hotel in hopes of improving property values in Whitehaven.

    How many failed projects has the council approved?

    The pyramid
    The cook covention center
    Peabody mall
    Fed Ex forum
    Red Birds Stadium
    Beale Street Landing
    Bike Lanes
    Trolley Lines
    Inspection Stations
    Canon Center

    Need I continue…none of these projects have lived up to potential.

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