Retired police officer speaks out on personal affects - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Retired police officer speaks about personal affects of budget cuts

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Mark Richardson, retired Memphis police officer, addressed Memphis City Council members about life after getting hurt on the job. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Mark Richardson, retired Memphis police officer, addressed Memphis City Council members about life after getting hurt on the job. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
A long and contentious meeting Tuesday ended with the Memphis City Council passing a budget. A long and contentious meeting Tuesday ended with the Memphis City Council passing a budget.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - A long and contentious meeting Tuesday ended with the Memphis City Council passing a budget, and now city employees and retirees are crying foul. The budget comes with major changes to health care premiums.

Mark Richardson, retired Memphis police officer, addressed Memphis City Council members about life after getting hurt on the job.

"I'm a retired Memphis police officer forced into retirement because of an injury I sustained on duty. For the better part of the past 12 years I have not had a day without physical pain and periods of excruciating pain that sometimes keep me bedridden for weeks and months at a time," said Richardson.

He says changing health benefits while he is on a fixed income is a major blow to him and other retirees.

"I served with the knowledge and agreement that if something happened to me during my tour that caused me to be disabled, the city or community would provide an income and insurance," he said.

According to Memphis Police Association, the new city budget means health care premiums shoot up 24 percent for all current city employees. Anyone who is a retired city employee, retired firefighter, or police officer, their health premiums just shot up 100 percent.

"To cause the benefits to go down, you will be causing major life changing consequences," said Richardson. "I don't believe this is a predicament but a right when I joined the police department,"

Memphis Councilwoman Wanda Halbert wanted to wait longer before taking a final vote.

"Ultimately a decision had to be made. I just take issue with the fact that we didn't have to rush it because it was such a critical decision. It's going to affect the lives of many," said Halbert.

Next month the Memphis City Council is expected to talk about changes to the city pension system.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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