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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, January 29, 2023
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PERB Closing Down Case Backlog

During budget hearings Friday, V.I. Public Employee Relations Board Chairman Aubrey Lee told the Senate Budget Committee PERB is closing more employment complaint cases each year than are being filed and has reached a milestone in reducing its longstanding backlog.

PERB provides mediation and arbitration services between government employees and management, as well as training for mediators, employees, managers and other interested people. A dispute with a government employer goes first to the PERB for a quasi-judicial hearing, and can then be appealed to the V.I. Superior Court.

"I am especially pleased to report that the PERB backlog currently stands at 82!" said Lee. “This is the lowest backlog we have had since PERB inherited … cases from the Government Employees Services Commission in 1995.”

PERB attorney Larry Raymond-Roy provided a bit more detail, saying 107 cases were filed in fiscal 2009, with 109 closed and 134 still pending at the end of the fiscal year. So far this year, 55 new cases have been filed, 95 closed and 94 are still pending, Raymond-Roy said. The number of pending cases is larger than the backlog of 82 cases because new cases are not counted as part of the backlog, she said. But whether measuring the backlog of old cases or the total number of cases pending, the number is decreasing year to year.


In other accomplishments, Lee said public employees can now view PERB decisions, orders and annual reports and download forms at the PERB website.

A small agency, PERB’s proposed 2011 budget is $881,000, an 11 percent increase over last year’s appropriation of $794,000. The budget contain $466,000 for wages and salaries and $188,000 for benefits for PERB’s 10 employees, eight of whom are on St. Croix and two on St. Thomas, with one vacant position on St. Croix. Another $187,000 is for services from communications, rentals and inter-island travel; $21,000 for supplies and $20,000 for utilities.

PERB Executive Director Zandra Petersen asked the Senate to consider appropriating an additional $90,000. Because that sum was not included in Gov. John deJongh Jr.’s budget proposal, PERB will have to cut back hard on normal operating expenses, Petersen said.

"Such vital services as maintenance of our office equipment, i.e. Xerox and fax machines; exterminating … security services, maintenance of our computer network system and website management, training startup costs, professional development and other necessary operating costs are simply not included in this budget," she said.

No votes were taken at the budget oversight hearing. Present were Sens. Nereida "Nellie" O’Reilly, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Carlton "Ital" Dowe and Craig Barshinger.

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