MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton finally answers questions about a plan to force disabled retired city employees to prove they are still disabled.
The Wharton administration says this is a way to make sure taxpayers aren't getting ripped off. But current employees and retirees say truth is, the mayor is trying to make himself look good.
"If we don't have integrity in the system we don't have anything."
That's Mayor A C Wharton's explanation for auditing more than 600 former city employees who are on disability. The retirees will have to prove they are still disabled. If not, they could be put back to work.
Truth is even if they can return to work there's probably not a job for them, given the city is cash strapped and not hiring.
So what will happen if they are cleared to go back to work? Wharton didn't have a clear answer.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he replied.
Truth is, of the 600 disabled retirees almost half are over 65.
Memphis Police Association Vice President Mike Williams described the audit as "politics, politics, smoke and mirrors," calling it "a wild goose chase."
The "goose chase" will require disabled retirees to submit medical and financial records. The city is hiring an outside company to do the work even though the people in charge already know.
The city's Human Resources Director, Quinton Robinson, told abc24.com, "There is a likelihood those individuals will not be physically capable of returning to work."
Truth is there may be some former employees taking advantage of the system. But those close to this situation say there is already a process in place to go after abusers.
The city plans to hire an outside company by August 15th. Truth is this isn't just happening one time. It's going to be an annual audit which retirees will have to deal with every year.