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Government Looks to Settle With Employees


Sept. 8, 2005 – The V.I. government wants to settle some cases with former employees and move on.
Karen Andrews, chief negotiator of the Office of Collective Bargaining, said Thursday that there were about two-dozen cases that the government settled with former employees except for payment.
The hold up is that the government has no funds to pay the settlements. Andrews said that an Attorney General ruling states that, according to V.I. Statue, the government cannot use funds from Union Arbitration Award and Government Employees Increment Fund to pay any settlement that is not an arbitrated settlement.
Andrews said the outstanding cases were settled either by court order or by the chief negotiator determining that the claims were valid and did not need to be argued.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said, in a press release Wednesday, that he has sent to the legislature a bill to amend the V.I. Code to allow for payment of court orders and stipulations from the Union Arbitration Award and Government Employees Increment Fund and for other purposes.
Andrews said she had requested the bill, but had not yet seen the version sent to the Senate.
Besides removing those limitation the bill, according to the press release, reverses legislation that mandated the government to pay half of the salary of a Water and Power Authority employee who retired under Act No. 5226,
Turnbull said, "This amendment prevents the government from assuming a financial responsibility which it docs not assume for other semi-autonomous instrumentalities."
Another section of the bill amends Act No. 6693 to make the funds appropriated for the Government Area Wide System available until expended.

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