Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

December 5, 2013

Stakes now even higher for retirees in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Shirley Lightsey’s phone keeps ringing. As head of a group of Detroit retirees, she’s trying to keep up with calls from anxious pensioners who fear their monthly payments are at great risk now that a judge says the bankrupt city can cut them.

Unions and pension funds are pledging to appeal a historic decision by Judge Steven Rhodes that found Detroit is broke and public pensions in a bankruptcy aren’t protected by the Michigan Constitution. Although union leaders have appealed, bankruptcy experts say it’s now a critical time to negotiate the best deal possible for 23,000 retirees and thousands more current employees.

Most city retirees have a pension of less than $20,000 a year.

“You’re talking about thousands of people who need to know what to anticipate six months from now, a year, 18 months,” said Melanie Cyganowski, a former bankruptcy judge in New York. “Can I live in the same house? Do I need to sell my house? Can I afford to live in a nursing home?”

An out-of-court deal would bring certainty, she said.

“You’ve bargained something and it will be there,” said Cyganowski, a judge for 14 years.

For months, Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, has said two pension funds are short by $3.5 billion, about 20 percent of the $18 billion in long-term debt that the city is trying to erase at a steep discount in bankruptcy court. Retirees are even more agitated because they still don’t know how much of a real hit they could face. Orr is expected to present a plan to settle all debts by early January, a way out that still would need the judge’s blessing.

Rhodes said he’ll be very sensitive to how retirees are treated, insisting he won’t “lightly or casually” approve any cut in benefits.

Text Only
Local News
  • Church Briefs Centenary UMC Centenary United Methodist Church, Effingham, will host the following activities: • Sunday, Aug. 3: Connection Time, 10 a.m.; Glenwood Worship, 10:30 a.m.; Lavender Ridge Worship, 2 p.m.; Youth Group, 6 p.m. • Monday, Aug. 4: Quilters,

    August 1, 2014

  • tony- app maker 1.jpg Dieterich grad markets word game application

    Dalton Hinterscher is something of a Renaissance man in the making.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIller, Jay C 021314.jpg Miller sentenced to 17 years in heroin death

     An Altamont man was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison in connection with the fatal heroin overdose of an Effingham woman earlier this year.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • No Headline Provided SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Here are the winning numbers selected Wednesday in the Illinois State Lottery:My 3-Midday6-2-4My 3-Evening4-7-5Pick Three-Midday4-8-0Fireball: 3Pick Three-Evening5-6-0Fireball: 4Pick Four-Midday3-5-5-1Fireball: 2Pick Four-Evening6-

    July 31, 2014

  • tony- dieterich app maker pic Dieterich grad markets word game application TONY HUFFMANDaily NewsDalton Hinterscher is something of a Renaissance man in the making.A former standout basketball player at Dieterich High School, Hinterscher followed his intellectual pursuits into college. Entering his second year as a Software

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Complex support divides council All indications at Tuesday’s special meeting of the Effingham City Council indicates Effingham Park District will not get the $1 million it is asking for to help build the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center.In fact, Mayor Merv Gillenwater

    July 30, 2014

  • Correction It was incorrectly reported in Saturday’s Effingham Daily News that federal sex crime suspect Nathan Maphis was at large. Maphis is being held in Madison County Jail. The newspaper erred. Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.

    July 30, 2014

  • tony- community garden 2 Learning and growing together The installation of a Effingham Community Garden sign marks the growing success of a common place for Effingham residents to cultivate plants and produce.“We have 23 large plots and two small plots out here this year,” said University of Illinois Mas

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-30 kitchen fire pic Kitchen fire damages home An unattended kitchen stove led to a full-still fire call at 507 Park Hills Drive Tuesday afternoon.A passerby made a 911 call and reported visible smoke from the eaves of the home at 1:16 p.m. Arriving on scene, Effingham firefighters entered the ho

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man fatally shot in Pana standoff, officer wounded

    Illinois State Police(ISP) and Christian County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday, July 29, in rural Christian County that involved ISP SWAT, a Pana Police officer and an armed offender.

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.