(Bloomberg) -- Letters sent by certified mail usually aren’t howstate and local governments signal they’re about to breach thepromise that public workers consider ironclad when it comes toretirement benefits.

But that’s how Patsy Jardin, 71, of Loyalton, California, foundout that she may lose much of her $48,000 annual pension becausethe town government failed to fund its long-term liabilities.Reading the letter delivered to her rural home made the formerclerk "sick," she said in an interview. "It’s my livelihood."

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