Susan Tompor reports: Susan Tompor: Bankruptcy Ruling Shocks, Disappoints Detroit Retirees
Darwina Wallace, 69, first heard that her city pension was a step closer to being cut when a friend who also retired from the city called her “up in arms” and demanded that she turn on the TV.
Wallace, who lives in Detroit, discovered that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday morning that yes, Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9. The shocker for retirees — Rhodes also ruled that city pension benefits won’t receive heightened protection in bankruptcy and may be cut.
“It makes me sick,” said Wallace, who is single and receives a pension that’s less than $2,600 a month after taxes in addition to Social Security. She started working for the city in 1977 as a 911 operator and last worked in the water department as an analyst gathering data for capital improvement programs. She retired in 2006 after 31 years on the job.
“It’s definitely going to affect me. These people, the karma is going to get them. They don’t seem to care about people,” she said.
After Detroit filed for Chapter 9 in July, many City of Detroit retirees closed their eyes and crossed their fingers that city pensions would be sacred and protected by the state constitution. Now, there’s no doubt that retiree health care and pensions are at risk. A change to health care coverage is planned for March, but cuts in pensions remain unknown and painfully uncertain.
What is even more sickening is the cheering and ululating from the wingnuts that elderly retirees won’t be receiving their meager pittance. HURR HURR GREEDY YOONYUNZ!!!!11!!!
— Michael A Nöthem (@mikandynothem) December 4, 2013
— John Dee (@GaltsGultch) December 4, 2013
— ShelleyMG (@ShelleyMGO) December 4, 2013
— Remy LeBeau III (@RemyLeBeauIII) December 3, 2013
Look #UniteBlue communist union thugs threatens judge in detroit ruling. Who's that idiot woman who told me lack of civility taints convo?
— Cinnamon Gram Cracka (@CoFemale) December 3, 2013
.Relax Detroit union members, Obama will eventually fund your bloated pensions with taxpayer money. #UniteBlue
— Sam Valley (@SamValley) December 3, 2013