Mayor Wharton calls for disability pension audit process - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Mayor calls for disability pension audit process

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(WMC-TV) - The City of Memphis spends more than $15 million per year on disability pension. While the mayor says he does not want to accuse anyone of lying about their disability, he is calling for a process to audit recipients.

Mayor A C Wharton says it is time to tighten ship.

"I just don't think that's asking too much. It's not overly intrusive," he said.

The mayor says the city needs a procedure to audit the medical records of people receiving Line of Duty and Ordinary Pension Benefits.

"For all of the wonderful people who are doing the right thing with regard to disability, there are a lot of people doing funny things," said Memphis City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert. "So why is something not there as part of the regular routine process?"

"Anywhere we discover a glitch, regardless of when it started, we're saying, 'Let's straighten it out,'" said Mayor Wharton, who first proposed the Disability Pension Eligibility Audit in 2012.

"On the original go, the language was threatening. It was negative to the employee. That's why we went to court. This is the resolve we worked through the court system," said Memphis Fire Association President Thomas Malone.

The lawsuit, filed one year ago, delayed the audits until a compromise could be reached. Tuesday represented the first public step toward that compromise.

"You have to have some way to affirm, if someone is getting disability pay, that they are truly disabled," said Wharton.

The committee approved the pension audit process, but it still needs approval by the full city council.

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