Home News Local news GERS BOARD TO 'ROLL BACK' SALARY INCREASES

GERS BOARD TO 'ROLL BACK' SALARY INCREASES

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The board of trustees of the Government Employees Retirement System has decided to rollback the salary increases given to GERS senior staff members by resolution in 1998 – at least temporarily.
According to a release Tuesday from the GERS, the board has temporarily put the increases on hold until the trustees meet again 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 were never implemented. Some of the raises were close to 50 percent, bringing 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. However, the governor has no control over the raises since the system became a semi-autonomous agency in December.
It was, in fact, Turnbull who stopped the raises from going through in October.
The release from GERS said that information reported by the media was wrong, but did not specify what parts of media reports were incorrect.
The released said, "The truth of the matter is that the GERS senior staff is a very dedicated and hardworking group of employees. These unclassified employees have not seen salary increases since 1996, although in most instances they deserved increases."
In 1998, the release goes on to say, the board of trustees attempted to address this distorted salary structure.
In pulling back, the board said it recognized the fiscal reality of the V.I. government and acknowledged that other government employees are owed retroactive wages.
"However, the board feels that it must cautiously approach this issue, as it must in all its decisions," the release 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 a board resolution and documentation was signed by the senior staff in 1998, the board may be required to implement the raises in order to avoid legal action by the affected employees.

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