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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 2, 2022


Hefty pay raises have been granted to top administrators of the Government Employees Retirement System, most averaging close to 50 percent, while rank and file employees received the short end of the stick.
According to a story in Tuesday's Virgin Islands Independent, the raises, five of them in the six figure category, are retroactive to October 1998. They were issued on Dec. 16, 1999. The GERS became a semi-autonomous agency in December, and the first action of the board was to reinstate the 1998 pay hikes, which were halted by the governor last October when the raises were first submitted, the paper reported.
The lower rank employees allegedly received 5 percent pay raises, also retroactive to October 1998.
Luis "Tito" Morales, president of the Central Labor Council of the Virgin Islands, is quoted as saying that "there is a big disparity in salaries for the administrators and the unionized workers. . . .and this is why government employees are up in arms."
The raises come at an inopportune time, considering the government's continuing fiscal crisis.
Morales said that the GERS board used studies of port authority, the Water and Power Authority, and other semi-autonomous government agencies to determine the raises.
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.
Morales also questioned why the agency needs four administrative assistants to manage about 40 to 45 employees.
No GERS board members could be reached for comment. Neither Morales, nor Rina McBrown, government house spokesperson, returned calls to their offices.

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