City retirees worry as Cranley proposes pension reform

A Cincinnati City Council Committee voted unanimously Monday to utilize a federal mediator during pension reform talks.

There is currently an $870 million hole in the city's pension funding and Mayor Cranley is requesting city leaders, union officials, and city employees to come together to discuss the issue.

Cranley is looking to address the future of employee pensions, including negotiations about employee- paid healthcare and city contributions.

Countless city retirees are collecting pensions for their years of service to the city of Cincinnati.

"My pension is working absolutely fine. It's a healthy pension," said Nancy Goodnough, who worked for the city for 36 years. Nancy says she is concerned that as the under funded pension system grows, changes could be in store under Cranley's proposed funding plan.

"Not wanting any changes is not realistic.  I know that.  However, what changes they make going forward are a big concern for me," said Nancy. She relies on the city for healthcare, and she worries of the potential cuts to those kinds of benefits.

Denny Bingham, another city retiree, says he signed paperwork laying out exactly what his pension would entail and that it wasn't to change. But he says the city has still altered it.

"They've changed our insurance, and I believe they're getting ready to change it again.  That's the part that scares me because my wife has a few medical problems," said Bingham.

In Cranley's proposed ordinance, changes could come to benefits, cost of living calculations and adjustments.

The proposal also directs the city manager to negotiate a stabilized employer contribution rate that protects retirement system members.

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