The news that the GERS Board granted the staff of the GERS hefty raises is shocking and unbelievable. These are not the best of times for the Virgin Islands economy and considering the shaky position of the Government's finances, this decision is misplaced. I believe that the Board felt that since the GERS is an independent agency, the decision to raise salaries by an average of 50% has nothing to do with the Government's financial problems.
Commissioners in the Governor's Cabinet who have the same or higher degree of fiduciary responsibilities earn one-half of these new salaries. What is the simple justification?
The Board should tell the government employees and the retirees why they allowed this kind of raid on the GERS Fund. We cannot compare the Virgin Islands GERS with that of another jurisdiction and use that for the excuse to raise salaries.
President Clinton just re-nominated Alan Greenspan to another four year term, and that immediately sent stocks tumbling on the DOW. Stocks will lose value over the next year for investors fear higher interest rates to come. This will not help the VIRGIN ISLANDS GERS. REVERSE THOSE RAISES TO A MORE MODERATE LEVEL, NOT 50 PERCENT.
Editor's note: Eric Dawson was born and raised on St.Thomas. He served four terms as a Virgin Islands legislator, served as chief legal counsel to the Legislature and was commissioner of Economic Development for the V.I. He is currently on the staff of the U. S.Small Business Administration in Washington, D. C.