Alabama Town’s Failed Pension Is a Warning

Michael Cooper and Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, December 22, 2010

This struggling small city on the outskirts of Mobile was warned for years that if it did nothing, its pension fund would run out of money by 2009. Right on schedule, its fund ran dry.

Then Prichard {snip} stopped sending monthly pension checks to its 150 retired workers, breaking a state law {snip}.


The city’s rapid decline began in the 1970s. The growth of other suburbs, white flight and then middle-class flight all took their tolls, and the city’s population shrank by 40 percent to about 27,000 today, from its peak of 45,000. {snip}


Last week several dozen retirees–one using a wheelchair, some with canes–attended the weekly City Council meeting, asking for something before Christmas. {snip}


The budget did not move forward. {snip}




Prichard pensioners who attended a recent city council meeting.

Source: New York Times (


Prichard’s city council.
Source: New York Times ((






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