Home News Local news GERS RAISES ON HOLD?



On Tuesday, a day after Gov. Charles Turnbull called on the board of trustees of the Government Employees Retirement System to rescind hefty raises for system administrators, board members closed their monthly meeting to the public to discuss the issue.
The raises of more than 50 percent for top GERS administrators came to light last week. The pay increases were granted Dec. 16, 1999, retroactive to October 1998, and put top GERS officials above the $100,000 salary mark.
The only comment on the raises at the board meeting Tuesday was made by Leona Smith, acting board chairwoman in the absence of Corine King. Before moving into closed session Smith said she thought the raises were on hold.
"This board did not discuss any raises in the Dec. 8 and 9 meeting," she said.
When asked for a comment on the issue, Smith told reporters that a statement would be issued to the media following the board meeting. As of 6 p.m. the Source had not received a statement.
Last October Turnbull refused to execute the pay increases when they came before him, and he said that the suspicious manner in which they were subsequently done was an affront to his office. GERS became a semi-autonomous agency in December, and the board's first action was to reinstate the 1998 pay hikes that the governor had halted.
The following are the reported salary increases: Administrator Lawrence Bryan, from $70,980 to $125,000; Assistant Administrator Willis Todman from $66,000 to $105,000; Assistant Administrator Elise McAlpin from $68,000 to $105,000; Assistant Administrator Evelyn Venner-Potter from $66,215 to $105,000; Legal counsel Alphonso Nibbs from $65,000 to $90,000 and Human Services Director Janice Turnbull from $41,000 to $63,000.
Meanwhile, Senate Vargrave Richards on Tuesday called on GERS board chairwoman King to solve the debacle or face a Senate investigation.
"Given the current fiscal crisis, it is unconscionable that such massive pay increases would be sanctioned," Richards said. "This action places all GERS participants at a decided disadvantage, and is highly insensitive given the present politically charged environment."
Richard encouraged King to find an "equitable solution" to the situation, "otherwise I recommend that the chairman of the Government Operations convene a special meeting to further investigate this matter."
Present at Tuesday’s board meeting were Smith; George Farrelly; Francisco Frank Stapleton; Vincent Liger and John deJongh Jr. King and Eleanor D. Josiah were absent.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here