76.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, November 30, 2023


A lot of Democratic Party officials are unhappy with Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's decision to hire retirees for so many highly visible positions.
They believe that with the government's severe financial crisis, the governor should be giving younger people with fresh ideas a chance to solve the problems rather than recycling people who are already collecting pensions.
The Democratic Territorial Committee passed a resolution Saturday conveying those sentiments to the governor.
We think they're right — but only partly.
The issue, we believe, is not just putting retirees in key positions but allowing them to "double- dip" by collecting both their pensions and a salary or contractual fee. That should not be allowed — and, in fact, the law restricts retirees from collecting both a government salary and a pension for more than 75 days.
We believe Gov. Turnbull is entitled to his choice of top aides. If he believes that certain older, more experienced heads are also wiser and more able to deal with the crises this government now faces, fine. He should have the right to place those people in key positions.
But those people must be forced to make a choice between their pensions and an additional salary or contract fee — one or the other, but not both. This government, after all, is having trouble meeting its biweekly payroll, and it is simply not fair or prudent to allow people to dip into the pot twice.
That same restriction should apply across the board, not just to the governor's aides.
Why should senators be legally allowed to double-dip by collecting pensions plus their $65,000- a-year legislative salaries? Why should the head of the Casino Control Commission collect a hefty judge's retirement pay plus $85,000 a year in salary?
They shouldn't. But we predict it will take a lot of public outrage and pressure before double- dipping is banned throughout this government. The key is the public in "public outrage and pressure." An insistent public could — and should — make it happen.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.