July 2, 2003 Gov. Charles W. Turnbull announced Tuesday that he had issued an executive order to reduce salaries of exempt employees "as part of announced austerity measures designed to address the fiscal crises."
In a four-paragraph press release Turnbull said salaries would be reduced starting at $80,000 salaries and above down to $40,001 between 10 percent and 2 percent respectively only until Dec. 31 "unless the government's fiscal crisis is resolved earlier as determined by the governor."
The order was not a surprise. The governor had announced his intention to implement the small reductions last month, in a last-minute press conference on St. Croix.
The reductions pale in comparison to the salary increases given to the same exempt employees prior to the November election.
The increases ranged on average from 20 percent to 25 percent, with some increases topping 50 percent. (See Governor offers small pay cuts for six months")
The order lays out the reductions as follows:
$40,001 and up will be reduced by 2 percent.
$50,001 and up will be reduced by 3 percent.
$65,001 and up will be reduced by 5 percent.
$75,001 and up will be reduced by 7 percent.
$80,000 and up will be reduced by 10 percent.
The release said that in his letter to Senate President David Jones, the governor "urged the members of the legislative branch to implement similar cost-saving measures as no one branch of the government should bear this burden."
Senators passed a bill earlier this year, submitted by Turnbull, to increase their salaries to $85,000. The governor later vetoed the bill, which would have seen his salary increased to $135,000.
Two senators recently announced they would donate part of their salaries to charities.
Sen. Louis Hill said, during a particularly raucous Senate session, that he was going to give $5,000 of his salary to the Junior Statesman program. The next day Sen. Ronald Russell said he would reduce his salary by giving $10,000 to support music events on St. Croix.
Turnbull in his first term as governor had said he was going to take a 10 percent decrease in his salary. It is unknown whether he did.
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