In Monday's Bolivar County Board of Supervisor meeting, Supervisor Preston Billings said he had been receiving numerous phone calls from citizens about Bolivar Medical Center's pension fund, which allegedly contains millions of dollars.
According to Supervisor Andrew Williams, people seem to think that there are millions of unclaimed dollars floating around in a pension fund but in reality the pension fund only contains $20,000.
"The news gave out misleading information. There were three different pension funds. Only one of them has funds remaining to be disbursed," said Williams. "The pension fund that the news referred to was actually a remaining balance after the county matched the funds from the hospital's pension. The remaining balance of $6 million was sent back to the county."
According to Williams, the board of supervisors sought legal council about the matter with the attorney general.
"The county put the money ($6 million) into a Certificate of Deposit," said Williams. "The county decides on what to do with the money. It has been said that because the money was hospital related that the money should go to the Bolivar Medical Center Foundation.
"After consulting with an attorney, we were informed that it is the county's prerogative whether or not to give the money to the foundation and if the county desired, it could withdraw all of the money from the foundation. The county has the right to do that."
Williams also mentioned that there are allegedly 11 residents who seemed to have been skipped over, during the pension fund disbursement process when the hospital sold in 2000.
"The hospital put up right at $9 to $10 million in escrow with the state of Mississippi and had an opening there for about two years for individuals to receive their funds,” said Supervisor Donny Whitten. “I think that we need to contact the proper authority about this matter, research it and see what the facts are and then do what is right. We need to settle this once and for all."
Although Whitten seemed to offer clarity to the situation, Billings was not pleased with the response and he attempted to convey his message by offering a hypothetical situation.
"This is amazing. Let's say that there was an individual working for the hospital for 15 years before transition with the hospital. Then worked another 15 years. You mean to tell me that this individual receives nothing," said Billings.
According to Williams, the individual would receive compensation, just as the alleged 11 citizens that have not received funds are due.
Members of the board seemed to go back and forth about the issue, until Supervisor James McBride finally offered some advice to his fellow board members.
"Let's set things straight, come to a conclusion, and make certain that these 11 people do exist. If they do exist, then let's contact them or run their names in the paper. It is not the intension of the board to deny any person anything that they are due," said McBride.