CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - “I put in there for 30 years. Now they’re telling me you got to take one of these two plans or you’re going to lose your stipend,” retired Warren firefighter Ed Falatic says.
Falatic is like a lot of the other under 65-year-old members of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund. He, and wife Cheryl, say they were left high and dry by the pension fund. He also sounds like a lot of the others who now are placing blame on Executive Director John Gallagher Jr.
Documents we’ve uncovered show that Gallagher was in a similar position in Chicago when major cuts were made to pensions there.
“I think when he came from Chicago, he had a plan and they knew what they wanted to do.”
At meetings all over the state, the retirees were told not to worry, that there would be offered similar plans to what they had at about the same cost when the fund stopped providing group coverage.
Falatic was offered only two plan,s noting, “None of them had our doctors, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, my local doctors and specialists. None of them are on any of them.”
Cheryl had the same experience, “I don’t want to go to Mercy Health. I don’t feel comfortable. I want to go someplace like Cleveland Clinic or University where I’ve got faith in the doctors.”
Falatic and hundreds of others are willing to pay more to keep coverage he had. But since he had to choose his own plan, he doesn’t even get the stipend the pension fund offered to soften the blow it delivered.
For many, it’s a financial “knockout” punch.