Legal strategy session under way for Detroit's two employee pension systems

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit's bankruptcy is unprecedented. 

Also unprecedented is a legal strategy session today for Detroit's two employee pension systems. 

This session of both pension boards is being held at a downtown Detroit hotel and is closed to the public. 

The two systems represent more than 22,000 retired Detroit city employees and 10,000 active employees. 

Detroit Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes could rule on Detroit's eligibility at any time following a 9-day trial. 

Detroit has a deficit of $18 billion and pension under-funding is said to be $3.5 billion. 

Retirees are facing pension reductions in bankruptcy. Their legal arguments have centered on the Michigan Constitution protecting their pensions against cuts. 

Judge Rhodes could separate out that issue while ruling Detroit is eligible to proceed in the bankruptcy process. 

The two pension systems are prepared to appeal any ruling that would cut pensions all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court.

The two systems have also been ordered by Judge Rhodes to participate in closed-door mediation.  If Detroit is ruled eligible for bankruptcy, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has said he will file a plan of adjustment on the debt by the end of this year. 

That would map out specific cuts to pensions that so far has not been done. 

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