Imagine you have worked for 30 years, just paid off the mortgage, and are ready to retire and enjoy the life you’ve built in that sleepy little town of Pascagoula. Not long after you settle into your golden years, a new family moves in next door along with their teenage son. One day you come home to find their son smashing the front windows of your home. The windows are beyond repair and will need to be replaced at some expense.
You knock on the neighbor’s door to speak with the parents. They assure you that they will do everything in their power to make the situation right. A few weeks later, neither the boy, nor his parents, have made any progress at repairing the windows. You go back to their door again, only to be met with the same answers. The parents tell you that they have now hired an attorney who will be looking into what can be done to repair the windows. The attorney speaks with you and tells you he’ll do everything to find the culprits and a solution to your window problem.
Unsatisfied with the lack of progress you walk next door to have a word every Monday. After a few months of this, the parents tell you they are tired of listening to you, will only let you talk for three minutes, and won’t answer any of your questions, on the advice of the attorney they hired.
Every Monday you faithfully make the trip next door to air your grievances, until one day they hand you a letter. The letter tells you that their attorney has researched the situation and while the parents are burdened with being the boy’s guardian, they don’t have the privilege of making the right decisions. They tell you there is no place in the law (or otherwise) that gives them control over the boy.
They find it absurd that they have to beg and plead with the boy to get any information or control over him. They want to fix this situation and are going to write to their Congressman to help change the law. The neighbors want you to write the Congressman too. They let you know that since the boy made the mess, it is his mess to clean up; they shouldn’t share the responsibility for their delinquent child. They will not be giving you a dime to help repair your windows. Whatever the boy offers you, consider yourself lucky to have gotten it at all.
This tale is the nightmare that the employees and retirees of Singing River Health System have been living for the last seven months. The parent in this case is the Jackson County Board of Supervisors and the delinquent boy is Singing River Health Systems. The county does have the responsibility and the ability to re-fund the pension and negotiate with Singing River for more access and control; they choose not to do so.
The county now seeks to have Mississippi law changed to help them out. Too little, too late. Sen. Brice Wiggins led the way on the transparency bill. As he said “where were they then?” The legislative session ended April 1. It will be another six months before it is in session again. These are hollow words by the BoS.
We are waiting for the supervisors to give their press release to The Mississippi Press. Maybe they will grant an interview to TMZ or Tiger Beat.