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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeCommentaryGERS Responds to Inspector General’s Report

GERS Responds to Inspector General’s Report

GERS Administrator Austin Nibbs testifies Friday. (Barry Leerdam photo for the V.I. Legislature)
GERS Administrator Austin Nibbs testifies before the Legislature. (Barry Leerdam photo for the V.I. Legislature)

The GERS concurred with all of the recommendations that were made in the V.I. Inspector General Report because these efforts to curb the so called “double dipping” have been in effect for many years. GERS plans to continue monitoring the areas that are vulnerable for noncompliance with the law.

GERS’s position is that the weaknesses in internal control are due to the central government departments/ agencies and autonomous agencies non-compliance with the reporting requirement as mandated in the VI Code; to report any retiree returning to work as an employee or on contract to the GERS. Also, responsibility falls on the retiree who was advised in writing by GERS during the retirement process, their responsibility to advise the GERS when returning to work.

GERS’ weakness in internal control is not collaborating more frequently with the Division of Personnel regarding timely periodic receipt of all the NOPA master file (with social security numbers) for the central government. GERS reconciliation with its active and retiree master files is being addressed. This is an ongoing process and is reaping great results. The autonomous agencies are more difficult to monitor. GERS is in the process of working with the autonomous agencies to devise a seamless reporting and monitoring system.

As far as collecting the overpayments that were illegally obtained by the retirees, GERS has three options available, negotiate a repayment plan with the retirees which is ongoing, file lawsuits to recoup the overpayments, and place liens on any real property held in the retiree’s name. Please note that the annuity of the retiree is suspended until all of the overpayment is collected plus loss investment income.

GERS will continue to hold bi-annual educational meetings with the central government and autonomous agencies Human Resources Directors and Personnel Professionals, the Department of Property and Procurement, and the Attorney General’s office to reinforce the protocols, laws, executive orders, and policies regarding retirees returning to work, in addition to continue to issue the annual letter to heads of departments and autonomous agencies and copy the Governor and all Human Resources Directors and Personnel Professionals.

The biggest challenge to the GERS is the retirees returning to work under a contractual agreement with a central government department/agency, autonomous agency or through the Department of Property and Procurement. GERS is not provided copies of the contract agreements and would not know that the retiree had return to work with the government.

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