City Workers And Retirees Rally Outside City Hall - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

City Workers And Retirees Rally Outside City Hall

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -

Heather Pfeil’s father is a retired Memphis Police officer, her husband is a Memphis police officer and her uncle was an investigator for the Martin Luther King, Jr., case when he was an officer.

She was one of more than a hundred city employees and retirees at a rally surrounding City Hall Tuesday, making sure city council members and the mayor knew they are against recent benefit cuts.

“I don’t think he cares because he lives in a million dollar home and drives in a very expensive car that costs $1,200 a month that is paid for by the city tax payers,” she said.

Memphis' newest budget includes a 24-percent increase in health insurance premiums, cuts to retirement benefits and spouses with jobs providing health insurance will not be allowed on city health plans.

“My aunt, she’s 85-years-old and she is not going to be able to live after she pays her health care," said Pfeil, "There’s nothing left after. We’ve completely done her budget; there’s nothing left."

Cheering, chants and car horns could be heard from inside Memphis City Hall all afternoon during the rally.

“We all need to take a breath, we need to exhale and just chill out,” said Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little, “We’re still open to finding solutions, and if this is going to work we’re all going to have to work together.”

Many employees, especially with Memphis Fire and Police Departments, said many do not want to work for the city because of these cuts.

“Would you run into a burning building to save somebody knowing your family wasn’t being taken care of by the people who promised you they would? I personally don’t know if I could. These guys do it every day,” said Chett Hopper, Senior Operator for the 911 Fire Communications Center.

Many officers and firefighters are already leaving.

“If you have a job that has low pay but decent benefits, sure you can do that for security in the long run, but if you have low pay and low benefits you’re not going to attract any good potential employees,” said Steve Ball, a retired Memphis Fire Department employee.

Little said they are open to ideas to solve the budget concerns, but there has not been a viable solution yet.

“We’re going to cut libraries? We’re going to cut our community centers? We certainly aren’t going to cut services to repair streets. What are you going to cut?” said Little.


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