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Advisory Committee Formed To Represent Interests Of City Retirees And Their Pensions

DETROIT (WWJ) – There are more than 20,000 Detroit city retirees whose pensions hang in the balance as the city moves through bankruptcy. Tuesday dozens of city retirees were interviewed for a spot on a retiree advisory committee which will represent the interests of the group.

Bill Harper has worked for the city for 31 years.

He wants to be on the committee, and says cutting pensions does not make fiscal sense.

“If you continue to take peoples pension away you have homes in the city of Detroit and you are not going to be able to keep your homes, it’s going to further erode the tax base in the city of Detroit,” said Harper.

“First of all you have a pension system up there that has been funded on a regular basis and you have people that’s retired and the constitution said you would have your pension when you retire,” he said. “It doesn’t say, ‘well, now you can’t have your pension.'”

Harper believes there is little room for compromise on the pensions. The committee will consist of as many as nine retirees and will be allowed to hire consultants and attorneys to assist.

Keith MacWilliams worked for the city’s water department for 32 years. He was one of many being interviewed today for a spot on the committee

“I need someone to look out for myself and my family and the rest of the retirees – they need somebody – I believe I have the ability to do it,” said MacWilliams.

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