Editor’s Note: Retiree Cisco Aguilar has been a thoughtful and reasoned observer and critic of the Singing River Health System pension debacle. Mr. Aguilar shares his thoughts on the most recent developments between SRHS and the Jackson County Board of Supervisors.
In a July 7th press release and again during the July 20th Board of Supervisors meeting, Billy Guice, special counsel for the Board on SRHS matters, boldly proclaimed that 100% funding of the SRHS defined benefit pension plan is an “impossible” task. As proof for his claim he has allowed publication of calculations performed by LaPorte, an accounting and business consulting firm, based on what he considers eminently reasonable assumptions.
This frontal attack on the pension members’ expectations was followed by a daring publicity stunt in the form of a proverbial carrot-and-stick offer to SRHS coupled with a public rebuke to the Supervisors’ archenemy, the Sun Herald.
Aside from the obvious fact that this staged series of performances has been orchestrated with a view to the August 4th election, the Supervisors are nonetheless confronting us with some substantial food for thought. Here I will dwell exclusively on the pension funding question.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Guice has not revealed yet his solution to the pension issue under the cover that it is now up to the judicial system. This is most likely on purpose to keep the uncertainty alive as a way to avoid potentially detrimental publicity before the upcoming election.