AG says Shelby County not liable for $1.1B

The Tennessee Attorney General opined Tuesday that Shelby County government isn’t responsible for paying the dissolved Memphis City Schools system’s $1.1 billion liability for retiree health benefits unless the County Commission votes to assume the obligation, reports the Commercial Appeal.

So the billion-dollar question is, who is responsible for making the payments against that Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability?

On Wednesday, County Commissioners said the city was the responsible party, but Memphis Chief Legal Officer Bruce McMullen said the city isn’t responsible for the liability of a special school district created by the state, and would fight any lawsuits to pay the money.

“There’s no obligation on the city. There is nothing in this,” he said, holding up the opinion, “directing the city to say anything. And I do want to point out to you that this is an Attorney General’s opinion. This is basically an advisory. This is not a judge just ordering or ruling or anything of that nature.”

“I’m not going to opine about who specifically is responsible,” he added. “What I’m going to tell you is that the city of Memphis is not responsible.”

Note: The opinion, requested by Sen. Brian Kelsey, is HERE.