City employees say new healthcare plan will bankrupt them

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "I'm not going to say its a game of numbers, but it's about the numbers. Numbers and priorities," Stan Bey, who joined the Memphis Fire Department six years ago, said.

He's now fighting more than fires. He, like thousands of other city employees, are battling a budget deal forcing them to pay more for healthcare.

In an over-packed city council meeting, members approved a plan forcing families of current city workers and retirees to pay a lot more. Some retired employee's families who were paying $350 a month, may now end up paying $1,300 a month.

Tuesday, Mayor Wharton said there wasn't a better option.

"If we didn't start making some drastic changes at this juncture I tell you what, it wouldn't have been a question of what about bankruptcy, it would have been when?"

But city employees say now they will be the ones going bankrupt.

Brian Holb said, "I started trying to put together an exit strategy. The vote yesterday solidified that for me."

Holb said when the Memphis Fire Department recruited him it made a lot of promises, but the city isn't fulfilling them. So now he's quitting.

"People were brought in on this job. Fire department specifically, with the understanding they were going to be taken care of in their old age."

Holb is thankful he's able to make a career change, but he's worried about tens of thousands of retirees who are seeing their benefits severely slashed.

Mayor Wharton admits the plan isn't perfect, but called it a new reality.

"Nobody is going to be thrown out on the street without healthcare. It's a new day, not only for retirees. The whole world of healthcare is changing for everybody."


  • JT

    Well here again some fine reporting by Ms. Molly Smith. Zero invertigation as to why they are slashing employee benefits while spending millions in real estate develpoment. Way to go Molly. Great reporting.

  • Jen

    Hey, News Channel 3, if you want to really “Be on Our Side,” why don’t YOU investigate where all the money is going? This city doesn’t pay for schools (which taxes were raised to pay for), collects a vehicle inspection tax (which no longer exists), and has cut departments left and right for that last few years. So…where is the money? If we are taxing people at the highest rates in the state and we DON’T pay for schools, how is it that we don’t have a surplus of cash? Since the school merger, taxes haven’t been lowered. PLEASE INVESTIGATE THE MONEY.

  • Kathy Hurley

    Basically, because Memphis has been mismanaged for YEARS, they are stealing PROMISED, contractual retirement and insurance benefits from the ELDERLY to avoid ANY increase in the property tax for Memphians. P.S. Shelby County RETIREES are SAFE because the county government made it a priority not to exceed their means and to honor their contractual commitment to their employees!!!

    I have been everywhere on the net to find a copy of the ACTUAL plan that passed!!! The local NEWS media should be ashamed of their coverage!!!
    Kathy Hurley

  • 1midtownmike

    Mayor Wharton admits the plan isn’t perfect, but called it a new reality.

    That’s a smooth talking way of saying “$crew y0u” AC.

    Bankruptcy is inevitable.

  • kay

    Well, we will not see AC and his group of folks in city hall taking any pay cuts, etc…. why not start at the top instead of the bottom, all the people he has screwed over were rank and file people, you work a squad car for 30 years or be a paramedic for 30 years, whichever the case, these people are not retiring rich. Some are still working part time, those who can and are physically able to do so. Every young person with less than 10 years on the MPD and MFD, get the heck out of this sorry town NOW while you can go where u wish, departments are hiring nation wide. You will not have any problem finding a position and in a better place than this. AC has not done anything for this city since he took over.
    If any of the retirees can leave and do not have family ties here, leave too. I wish everyone well. AC wantsto make sure all the realtors and big money people are happy and MCC . Like Chief Beasley said, if they cannot sell a house with a 3% interest rate, they need to change jobs. What about the people with really bad health? Cancer? Surgeries?
    I guess bankruptcy will prevail for all. Thanks again Mayor !!!

  • scooby do

    This act against the retirees is evil. The Bible talks about people who steal wages from their workers and I hope everyone who supported this theft faces judgement for it. The retirees paid into the insurance fund for 25 years or more. Do they get their money back now. This is like paying to social security all your life then being told you don’t get social security. In a few years all city employees with less than 10 years will have quit and every one who can will have retired. Memphis will not be able to hire anyone for what they are offering. Good luck then. When you call for police and fire no one will be coming. The mayor and city council are living a dream or should I say a nightmare created by systematic theft from the city for years at the top. They even raised the premiums of the people who were injured on duty and crippled and can’t work to an amount that is almost 100% of their small pension. What kind of people do something like that? Not men. It is shameful. Evil. Reap what you sow city council thieves and liars. Snakes. Your day will come like it always does for your kind.

    James 5:4
    Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord

    • Social Security is BROKE

      Funny you should bring up social security. They are telling everyone that Social Security most likely wont be available for anyone under 40. Don’t you believe them? Those over 40 are being told their payments will be cut by 23% within 10 years. Social Security WAS a TRUST FUND, but some President and politician decided to use it in the general fund and put an IOU in the fund which is what they did. On the books social security has over $2.5 TRILLION but when you look in the safe there is just has a piece of paper with Treasury Note written on it which is a government IOU. For the first time in history Social Security recipients did not get a cola increase for 2 consecutive years under this administration. They said groceries, gasoline, and utilities haven’t gone up. ROFLMAO. People are complaining about the city being in trouble when the whole nation is swirling down the toilet. Memphis politicians are choir boys compared to those federal crooks. Face it the money is not there. You cannot give someone something you don’t have unless you just print money out of thin air like the Federal Reserve does for the Federales. Where do you think the Feds got the $17 Trillion they owe as our national debt? Just wait until they start cutting food stamps, section 8, WIC, earned income credits, and the rest of the stuff the gimme dats receive every month. There is an ill wind blowing in this nation..

  • Big T

    Let me tell you a tale of man who worked for the MFD for 37.5 years, retired and now takes a medicine that costs $800 a month without city insurance , but with city ins. Costs him $250 a month with city ins. !! He has Medicare but it pays 0%!! Now he has to pay 100%($1800 a month) of his insurance premiums if he wants to keep his city insurance, between his medicine and his insurance premium he would have $485 left to live on for a month. Luckily he did pay into Social Security on his side job for many years and is able to receive a monthly stiphon of $37 a month from SS !!!!

  • Joyce Craig

    If Wharton creates more jobs for positions he has already ask for the MCC better not approve it. He needs to cut all those positions that can retire after a few years with full benefits. I’ll bet they don’t get their insurance cut and how about Wharton, he collects from the county too, so he is not worried about himself. They racked a certain person over the coals for double dipping well they better look closer to his own doorstep because there are several of them double dipping including Wharton, Oldham, Herenton and a few more. If they go from the county to the city or the city to the county they should not collect two pensions from the taxpayers. When they cut the insurance (on the backs of those who have to work extra jobs to be able to live) you watch those who work at city hall will get a raise. Everyone of them at city hall are nothing but crooks and they are gonna get theirs someday. The taxpayers better wake up because we are headed for trouble just like Detroit. They went down the same road.

  • Nuclear Mike

    The time of reckoning for all the big cities years of free spending & luxury retirement plans are over…Memphis has the company of many more cities where the workers’ gravy-trains are derailed forever as we the taxpayers revolt and refuse to give them what we ourselves cannot have…

    • Sheisty Preacher

      Ain’t it the truth? There’s a huge elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Wharton is just the fall guy in all of this. there was a lot of free wheeling and dealing for a long time in Memphis, years before Wharton took office. People had a good time on other people’s dime, and now it’s time to pay the piper. Too bad the ones who are really responsible for this are no longer in office.

    • Pam

      What are you talking about “luxury retirement plans”. You have no idea what you are talking about. My husband gets a small pension and he does pay for his portion of the health insurance. He retired medical from the police department. I’m a nurse and he’s retired. We barely make ends meet. The ones getting “luxury retirement’s” are the Mayor and city council plus the police and fire directors. The rest of the city workers, NO>

    • Bonnie Williams

      please explain…luxury retirement or gravy train….most of the LEO’s I know get paid by the hour… you know not what you speak!

  • Wake Up

    I wonder how many voted for King Willie when he was logging their pensions and paying off rich developers with boat docks and arenas! They can go downtown and visit their pensions.

  • Christine

    How do not understand why the city is in the red. Even though there are a lot of vacant homes out there, they are still owned by banks. If you have property, even it is vacant you should be made to pay the property tax. With this move the citizens in Memphis will be on the loosing end. Policeman and fireman will probably relocate to where they are valued.

  • TPA

    HAHA,,this is hilarious,,you sheep that voted for that rat-eared communist must really be enjoying that hope and change drivel..

    • Keep Voting Democrat Comrades

      I agree that any fool that voted democrat/communist deserves everything that comes their way. That Obamacare is now a sight to behold. And the fools think this increase is bad, just wait till those coal plants are closed down because Obama said those utility bills are going to skyrocket. Let them all resign since we will soon have a Spanish speaking police force and fire department as soon as Obama signs those amnesty papers. Those new citizens will work for minimum wage since where they come from they are accustomed to getting bribes to do anything. I would tell Obama what I thought but it is hard to track him down at his Hollywood fundraisers and country club golf courses.
      Now everyone be sure and vote for Hillary and just maybe if we are all lucky Henri Brooks will run for mayor. I mean we have so much good news lately, from gun control, to criminals in the IRS, Veterans dying on waiting lists, Benghazi, and the good thing is he has a pen and a phone to do whatever Caliphates do. FORWARD is the new motto.

  • Bill

    Here’s 10 things I’ll do when I’m elected mayor;
    1. Cut 10% of the City work force
    2. Reduce all 6 figure salaries to 5.
    3. Freeze Property Taxes for my term
    4. Have rolling Curfews for high crime neighborhoods by Zip codes.
    5. De-annex Hickory Hill and Cordova.
    6. Stop the Minority requirements for City bids.
    7. Create a City Department that inspects all Rental properties(like a home inspector) for renters. The fee is paid by the Landlords.
    8. Vacant properties are taxed at 2X the current property tax rates. Vacant means an occupancy rate of less than 80% per address for a Calendar year.
    9. Reduce the MATA routes by 50% and make Tuesdays a ride free day for all Memphians.
    10. No new development contracts for Developers.

  • smith

    Is it time for white leadership In Memphis., The Blacks have had it over thirty years and look at it. Just saying

  • SecFan

    Why can’t the city bring an age discrimination law suit against the city? It is the elderly that are suffering the most on fixed incomes.

Comments are closed.