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DELEGATE QUESTIONS RAISES FOR TOP OFFICIALS

Nov. 12, 2001 — Gov. Charles Turnbull said he was "dumbfounded" by remarks Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen made Monday about his order to give top government administrators salary increases of up to 50 percent.
Last week, Turnbull issued an executive order that would ensure that top government officials — commissioners, assistant and deputy commissioners and division heads — would be paid more than their subordinates. Such disparities in pay in some departments occurred on Oct. 18, when the government paid raises due in 13 union contracts.
On Monday, Christensen said the move was questionable because of the downturn in the nation's economy following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"We are in a time of uncertainty," she said. "Our economy, just as the nation's economy, is shaken
"I find at this particular time it's probably not the most prudent time to talk about giving raises."
Turnbull said he was "dumbfounded" by his fellow Democrat's remarks, particularly, he said, because the two hadn't discussed the situation. In fact, Turnbull said, he had not yet given anyone a raise.
The governor set a ceiling of $97,000 a year for commissioners, directors of the Management and Budget Office and of Personnel and people in similar authority. The new ceiling for assistant commissioners and people with similar jobs is $92,000 a year. Deputy commissioners and similar officials could earn up to $87,000.
"As a result of the negotiated raises, many employees will make more than their supervisors," Turnbull said. "It's not right."
He noted that the $97,000 salary was a ceiling and that it doesn't necessarily mean commissioners will be making that much money. Turnbull said that in most cases, the senior employee may receive an increase of a few thousand dollars more than his or her underling.
"We will do it to the degree funds are available," Turnbull said.
The governor used Police Commissioner Franz Christian as an example. He said that with the negotiated pay raises, the highest-paid captain in the Police Department now makes $84,523 a year. Christian's salary is $65,000 a year.
Turnbull also cited Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds and some school principals. The highest-paid principal will make $80,517 a year once a contract is finalized. Simmonds makes $65,000.
The Senate will weigh in on the issue Tuesday during a session on St. Thomas. Last week, Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd and Sen. Adelbert Bryan each wrote Turnbull detailing their objections to aspects of the executive order. Liburd asked that the Legislature be provided a breakdown of all costs associated with the order, and that the Finance commissioner, Personnel director, a representative from the governor and the lieutenant governor's offices and the director of the Office of Management and Budget be present to testify.

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Nov. 12, 2001 -- Gov. Charles Turnbull said he was "dumbfounded" by remarks Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen made Monday about his order to give top government administrators salary increases of up to 50 percent.
Last week, Turnbull issued an executive order that would ensure that top government officials -- commissioners, assistant and deputy commissioners and division heads -- would be paid more than their subordinates. Such disparities in pay in some departments occurred on Oct. 18, when the government paid raises due in 13 union contracts.
On Monday, Christensen said the move was questionable because of the downturn in the nation's economy following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"We are in a time of uncertainty," she said. "Our economy, just as the nation's economy, is shaken
"I find at this particular time it's probably not the most prudent time to talk about giving raises."
Turnbull said he was "dumbfounded" by his fellow Democrat's remarks, particularly, he said, because the two hadn't discussed the situation. In fact, Turnbull said, he had not yet given anyone a raise.
The governor set a ceiling of $97,000 a year for commissioners, directors of the Management and Budget Office and of Personnel and people in similar authority. The new ceiling for assistant commissioners and people with similar jobs is $92,000 a year. Deputy commissioners and similar officials could earn up to $87,000.
"As a result of the negotiated raises, many employees will make more than their supervisors," Turnbull said. "It's not right."
He noted that the $97,000 salary was a ceiling and that it doesn't necessarily mean commissioners will be making that much money. Turnbull said that in most cases, the senior employee may receive an increase of a few thousand dollars more than his or her underling.
"We will do it to the degree funds are available," Turnbull said.
The governor used Police Commissioner Franz Christian as an example. He said that with the negotiated pay raises, the highest-paid captain in the Police Department now makes $84,523 a year. Christian's salary is $65,000 a year.
Turnbull also cited Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds and some school principals. The highest-paid principal will make $80,517 a year once a contract is finalized. Simmonds makes $65,000.
The Senate will weigh in on the issue Tuesday during a session on St. Thomas. Last week, Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd and Sen. Adelbert Bryan each wrote Turnbull detailing their objections to aspects of the executive order. Liburd asked that the Legislature be provided a breakdown of all costs associated with the order, and that the Finance commissioner, Personnel director, a representative from the governor and the lieutenant governor's offices and the director of the Office of Management and Budget be present to testify.