September 3, 2014 10:22:44 AM
Questions regarding city retiree benefits need answering
I want to express my dismay and disappointment in The Dispatch's reporting of the Columbus City Council's decision to end providing health insurance to retired city employees and your subsequent award to the City Council of a Rose for their decision.
I expect more in-depth and investigative reporting on topics such as this. While apparently only affecting 24 current retirees today, The Dispatch provided no information on many very relevant aspects of this story such as:
1. What is the circumstance of the promise of health insurance coverage to these retirees and what portion of their retirement benefits does it comprise? Also, what are the overall levels of their overall retirement benefits ... and how do these benefits compare to what one would get if they were to receive Social Security (which most of us can relate to).
2. What were the situations of these retirees and the impacts to them? Are they all firemen and police who could retire while they are still relatively young and they have gone onto lucrative second careers? Or are they clerical workers who worked until they were 65, made minimum wage through their time in the city's employ, and who are now receiving a pittance of a retirement?
3. What are the options available for these retirees? Do they qualify for Social Security and Medicare? Many civic workers, due to their public pensions and the promise of health care coverage in retirement, did not pay into Social Security and Medicare during their working years, leaving them totally at risk to reductions such as this. Is this the situation here ... or are they in less dire straits?
4. The only retirees mentioned in the story were the current 24. We received no information on what impact this decision will have on future retirees, which I suspect will be a much higher number than 24. Why not? And what is the impact to future retirees?
I hope with this prodding, The Dispatch can fill in the blanks and make us a better informed public before the September 4th public hearing on this topic.
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