Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
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Civilian retirees in Detroit agree to pension cuts

Deal would reduce benefits 4.5%

DETROIT — The group representing the largest bloc of Detroit’s retired workers has agreed to accept the city’s proposed cuts to their pension benefits, the latest in a string of deals the city has struck to resolve its bankruptcy.

The board of directors for the Detroit Retired City Employees Association, which represents 8,000 retired civilian workers, voted on Friday to support the city’s plan of adjustment, according to mediators appointed by the federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the case.

Under the deal, contingent on full funding of the so-called Grand Bargain to aid retired city workers, nonuniformed city retirees would accept a 4.5 percent reduction in benefits and the elimination of cost-of-living-adjustment increases to their benefits.

They also would have a voice in the voluntary employee beneficiary association that is planned for managing retiree health care.

Previously, the group representing retired police and firefighters agreed to back the city’s adjustment plan, as had the boards for the two independent pension systems for both groups.

Under their deal, public safety retirees’ pensions will not be reduced, though cost-of-living adjustments would be cut to 1 percent.

All of the deals hinge on $816 million the city would tap to aid its retired workers.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has asked the state legislature to approve $350 million of that amount, while the rest would come from philanthropic foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts, which pledged the money to avoid a fire sale of art because of the bankruptcy.

The agreement added to several deals Detroit reached with other major creditors in the last month.

It also increases the ranks of creditors that Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has lined up so far to support his plan to adjust the city’s $18 billion of debt and exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, which was filed in July, 2013.

Separately, the city was granted a delay until Monday for filing its final disclosure statement containing details of its plan of adjustment. The plan had been due to the court by the end of the day on Friday, but the court granted an extension.

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