Detroit City Council member says changes need to be made in pension payment

Saunteel Jenkins wants to block practice of "13th" pension checks

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DETROIT - Detroit City Council Member Saunteel Jenkins is introducing an ordinance to stop the practice of so-called "13th" pension checks in the city.

The checks are essentially an annual bonus for the city's non-uniformed retirees.

The city of Detroit has allowed these checks to be issued for more than 20 years, but Jenkins says it's at too big of a cost. "There's one study done that said if we had not distributed 13th checks there would be about $1.9 billion dollars more in the pension system today," said Jenkins.

The check is sometimes one extra monthly payment, or spread out over an entire year. The check averages about $250 per retiree.

Lou Hatty, a pension board member told Local 4 that retirees "had the assumption that they'd be taken care of further on down. Now that it's further down, they should be taken care of."

Other pension board members say that in 2005 they put aside a special pot of money to help continue these extra checks even during tough economic times.

Jenkins argues the payments not only put more pressure on the pension fund, it also can put pressure on the general fund.

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