Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gummo gives rave review of our readers’ comments

Yesterday, one of our visitors, Gummo, turned blog critic and gave a thumbs up review of comments our readers posted under the 10/5/07, “Retirees lawsuit…” blog below. Gummo wrote, in part, “In all my years of watching this site and the Discussion Board I've never seen such swift, well-considered, and well-stated summaries of such a complex issue. I'm not sure how many different people are responsible for the above posts but you are all to be congratulated for your efforts. You've stated facts, kept the opinions muted and limited, and put the entire issue in perspective.” Gummo took the words right out of our collective mouth and said it better than we could have.

We want to thank those who took the time to present their points of view on the retiree trust fund issue and for putting it in a historical context many of us were unaware of. Although we can’t vouch for the accuracy of the content, following are some excerpts we found especially striking. If any of our readers can present the other side of this coin as cogently and persuasively as these commenters have, we hope they'll to contribute to the dialogue about this “complex issue” in the comments box.

Fact: The Retiree C-9 Trust fund has been in existence since 1975. Norwood employees, mostly Police and Fire, gave up other pay and benefits for over 30 years, in order to keep the medical.

No, it isn't illegal. It was thoroughly researched by the Law Department in 1975 and was modeled after other C-9 trust funds.

No, St. Bernard's trust fund was not found to be illegal. In fact, St. Bernard retirees, experiencing the same plight with their City as Norwood retirees have experienced with ours, SUED ST. BERNARD and won.

City workers bargained for medical coverage at the expense of other lucrative working conditions enjoyed by other cities' employees and by workers in private industries.

Starting about 2002-2003, Norwood stopped making it's legally required payments to retirees for office visits, out of pocket expenses and prescriptions, which employees had bargained for and been receiving. No notice was given. The payments just stopped.

Employees submitted copies of bills they already paid, for re-imbursement per the agreement with the City, but were told by the firm handling payments "your cap has been reached". There was never a cap. Retirees had negotiated a full health coverage in exchange for other benefits given up for decades. Retirees tried to ask questions but were ignored by City Hall.

This continued for the past 5 years...

Meanwhile, retirees were "cut off" in mid-year & had to scramble to pay insurance premiums promised by the City, and pay for office visits and prescriptions only to submit them to the City and get NO RESPONSE. THEY WAITED, WAITED, WAITED, NO RESPONSE FROM THE CITY!!! Many bills are unpaid to this day....