Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory Monday expressed her frustration that the Government Employees’ Retirement System Administrator Austin Nibbs had not issued annual bonus pay due to retirees 60 and older for fiscal years 2018, 2019, and 2020.
She said that an act passed by the Legislature in July and signed into law by the Governor in August required the payments be made by September 30.
GERS Administrator Nibbs responded with his press release Tuesday that the retirees, who are entitled to receive the additional V.I. Lottery Bonus for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 and 2020, had payments delayed due to technical issues. According to his press release, “Our software developer is working with staff to rectify the problems.”
Frett-Gregory told the Source Tuesday she did not think making the payments was such a “difficult task” and Nibbs should have communicated to the Legislature if there was a problem making the payments before the mandated date. She said GERS is currently in violation of the law.
An earlier act had mandated payment from the V.I. Lottery of not less than $2.7 million to GERS retirees over 60 annually. However, the Lottery went through what Frett-Gregory termed “tough years” after the 2017 hurricanes. However, Frett-Gregory said her research showed that the Lottery can pay the bonuses now.
According to the GERS press release, the bonus payments will be for 2018 – $108.92, for 2019 – $100.20, and for 2020 – $156.61.
In her press release, Frett-Gregory said, “On September 9, 2022, Administrator Nibbs advised my office that payment would be made by the first week in October. What compounds the frustration is the Board is busy increasing the salary of its Administrator and not focused on ensuring our retirees are made whole and the things that matter.”
Brett-Gregory was referring to the recent decision by the GERS board to increase the salary of CEO Austin Nibbs to $250,000 annually, plus a $1,055 monthly housing allowance.
The GERS release said, “The beneficiaries of the deceased retirees will receive their payments. The GERS will advise the retirees when the bonus payments will be released.”
Frett-Gregory said, “Many of our retirees are living on a fixed income. It is time the Board intervene in resolving this vexing issue of the outstanding bonus payments.”