Home News Local news GERS BOARD BACKS OFF BIG PAY HIKES, FOR NOW

GERS BOARD BACKS OFF BIG PAY HIKES, FOR NOW

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The board of trustees of the Government Employees Retirement System has decided to roll back the massive salary increases it gave recently to GERS senior staff members, at least temporarily.
According to a Tuesday GERS release, the board has temporarily put the increases on hold until the trustees meet again on Feb. 8 to make their final decision.
In December the GERS board voted to reinstate hefty pay raises that had been granted to top administrators in 1998 but never implemented. Some of the raises were close to 50 percent, brining salaries to as high as $125,000.
There was a public outcry when the V.I. Independent broke the story, and Gov. Charles W. Turnbull called upon the GERS board to rescind the raises. The governor has no control over GERS salaries since the system became a semi-autonomous agency in December.
Turnbull had stopped the raises from going through in October, before the agency gained semi-autonomy.
The GERS release said that information reported by the media was wrong, but it did not specify what reports were incorrect in what regard.
The released stated that the GERS senior staff "is a very dedicated and hard-working group of employees. These unclassified employees have not seen salary increases since 1996, although in most instances they deserved increases."
In 1998, the release continued, the board of trustees attempted to address the salary structure.
In pulling back, the board said it recognized the fiscal reality the government faces and acknowledged that other government employees are owed retroactive wages.
"However, the board feels that it must cautiously approach this issue," it said. "The board urges the community to be calm and allow the trustees to carry out their fiduciary duties."
There is some concern that, since the raises were authorized by board resolution and documentation signed by the senior staff in 1998, that the board may be required to implement the raises in order to avoid a legal action by the affected employees.

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