Around 100 retired East St. Louis firefighters suing for pension - KMOV.com

Around 100 retired East St. Louis firefighters suing for pensions

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

Nearly 100 firefighters and their families are at risk of losing their livelihood after the city of East St. Louis has failed to pay into their pension fund this year.

The board met Tuesday to discuss the dire financial situation. The board says the city owes more than $1.2 million for 2015 and now they’re suing to get that money back.

“After we put all these years in and contributed to the pension, now the city is just drawing back and letting us use our reserves,” explained Richard Temple, a retired firefighter.

The board says that if the city doesn’t begin paying into the fund, that it could be gone in 30 months. City manager Alvin Parks presented a plan that would allow the city to contribute a minimum amount.

Starting in February, the city will pay $50,000 to the pension, but the board says their monthly payout is $280,000 and that won’t even make a dent.

“The city is broke,” explained Parks.

He said they will be able to make that small obligation by making some cuts. He said they are cutting city issued cell phones and take home cars but it will only make a small dent.

Now the city of East St. Louis is looking at taking out a loan.

“That the kind of situation you hate to enter into but in a short term cash crunch situation, you have to get over the cash crunch,” said Parks.

Despite the lawsuit, the board is hopeful they can keep working with the city to come to some form of agreement.

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