WARREN - Delphi salaried retirees and elected officials Tuesday called for a Congressional committee to question three former Auto Task Force members who are refusing to discuss their roles in the process that led to pension cuts.
Christy L. Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, notified legislators in a May 9 letter that Ron Bloom, Matt Feldman and Harry Wilson had refused to provide information and answer questions about their role in the 2009 decision that led to termination of the Delphi pensions.
She wrote their failure to testify "poses a significant obstacle" to completing her audit, but noted the special inspector general lacks legal authority to compel the former members to provide information.
U.S. Rep. Michael Turner, R-Centerville, said Tuesday he has asked House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa to have the committee "interview these individuals concerning the role they played in the decision to take the retirement and health benefits of these retirees."
Bruce Gump, a Niles resident who is vice chairman of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association, noted, "The Obama Administration has refused to cooperate with a legally commissioned investigation into the treatment of the Delphi salaried retirees. Remember what Obama said on his first day in office about transparency?"
Salaried retirees recently criticized Jay Williams, the former Youngstown mayor who now serves as Obama's "car czar" in charge of aid to auto communities hard hit by the industry's woes, for not interceding on their behalf with Obama.
Williams has offered details about retraining, education and other programs to help retirees reshape their lives.
Some of the 20,000-plus salaried retirees and pension participants, including many of the roughly 1,500 retired salaried workers from Delphi Packard in the Warren area, saw pensions cut 30 percent to 70 percent in the government-led bankruptcy of General Motors Co. in the summer of 2009.
GM, which received a loan and taxpayer bailout of nearly $50 billion, "topped up," or made whole, hourly workers' pensions.
The salaried plan was shifted to federal pension insurer Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which cut payouts for younger workers after Delphi emerged that fall from its own bankruptcy.
Salaried retirees claim actuarial studies show the pension could be funded with about $5.1 billion in money available to the pension insurer, without adding taxpayer dollars.
The plan would be funded with $2.4 billion in Delphi assets that were transferred to the insurer, $2.1 billion the PBGC has said it would contribute and $600 million received from the sale of Delphi's public stock offering in November.
Delphi's pension termination and $7.2 billion funding shortfall is second to United Airlines' $7.4 billion deficit in PBGC history.