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Process Nearly Complete for Figuring Retroactive Government Raises

July 29, 2008 — The Division of Personnel has nearly finished determining what retroactive salary increases are owed to retirees and employees dating back to 1989, division director Kenneth L. Hermon Jr., said Tuesday in Senate budget hearings.
"We have completed the review of more than 5,700 retiree(s)," Hermon said. "We will forward the data for all retirees who are entitled to a retro payment to the Department of Finance in September."
Active employees should be complete in December, he said.
"I will then work with the Public Finance Authority to obligate the initial $45 million from the Insurance Guaranty funds."
Asked for a timeline of when checks might be cut, Hermon said he could only give a firm date for when Personnel would complete identifying recipients.
Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe asked Hermon for haste, diligence and communication with the Legislature on the matter of calculations of who is owed retroactive pay.
"It is a herculean task being undertaken by you that should have been done a long, long, long time ago," he said. "We have in Legislature at least tried to provide the support and resources to allow it to happen."
Personnel manages hiring, employee records and training as well as health, dental and life-insurance benefits for more than 9.000 government employees and 5,000 retirees with medical and dental coverage for their dependents.
Personnel, together with the rest of government, has cut by half the time it takes to process a notice of personnel action (NOPA) and hire a government employee, Hermon said.
"Initially the hiring process took upwards of 95 days," he said. "During the first six months of the (process), we averaged 46.3 days to hire an employee. We are now averaging 28.3 days."
The portion of the NOPA journey that passes through Personnel has been cut nearly in half as well, from 14.5 days to 7.8 days, he said.
Within Personnel's budget is a provision increasing the employee contribution to health insurance from 35 to 40 percent, reducing the government's share from 65 to 60 percent, Sen. Liston A. Davis said, prompting questions from several senators.
Sen. James Weber III asked if the split was determined by the insurance carrier, Cigna.
"That is not the Cigna proposal," said Maureen Venzen, the chief of Group Health Insurance. "The 60-40 division is a separate provision, which is in the budget."
"If we vote on the budget as is, we would be voting to change the plan to extract the additional five percent to be paid by the employees?" asked Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.
Hermon confirmed that Nelson was correct.
Gov. John deJongh Jr.'s 2009 budget recommends a General Fund appropriation of $3.5 million for Personnel. This is an increase of $250,000 over 2008. The division expects another $266,000 from the Indirect Costs Fund, filled from federal payment for services provided it by the V.I. Government, for a total budget of $3.8 million.
No votes were taken. All members were present: Nelson, Davis, Dowe, Weber, Sens. Juan Figueroa-Serville, Neville James and Ronald Russell, as well as non-committee member Usie Richards.
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July 29, 2008 -- The Division of Personnel has nearly finished determining what retroactive salary increases are owed to retirees and employees dating back to 1989, division director Kenneth L. Hermon Jr., said Tuesday in Senate budget hearings.
"We have completed the review of more than 5,700 retiree(s)," Hermon said. "We will forward the data for all retirees who are entitled to a retro payment to the Department of Finance in September."
Active employees should be complete in December, he said.
"I will then work with the Public Finance Authority to obligate the initial $45 million from the Insurance Guaranty funds."
Asked for a timeline of when checks might be cut, Hermon said he could only give a firm date for when Personnel would complete identifying recipients.
Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe asked Hermon for haste, diligence and communication with the Legislature on the matter of calculations of who is owed retroactive pay.
"It is a herculean task being undertaken by you that should have been done a long, long, long time ago," he said. "We have in Legislature at least tried to provide the support and resources to allow it to happen."
Personnel manages hiring, employee records and training as well as health, dental and life-insurance benefits for more than 9.000 government employees and 5,000 retirees with medical and dental coverage for their dependents.
Personnel, together with the rest of government, has cut by half the time it takes to process a notice of personnel action (NOPA) and hire a government employee, Hermon said.
"Initially the hiring process took upwards of 95 days," he said. "During the first six months of the (process), we averaged 46.3 days to hire an employee. We are now averaging 28.3 days."
The portion of the NOPA journey that passes through Personnel has been cut nearly in half as well, from 14.5 days to 7.8 days, he said.
Within Personnel's budget is a provision increasing the employee contribution to health insurance from 35 to 40 percent, reducing the government's share from 65 to 60 percent, Sen. Liston A. Davis said, prompting questions from several senators.
Sen. James Weber III asked if the split was determined by the insurance carrier, Cigna.
"That is not the Cigna proposal," said Maureen Venzen, the chief of Group Health Insurance. "The 60-40 division is a separate provision, which is in the budget."
"If we vote on the budget as is, we would be voting to change the plan to extract the additional five percent to be paid by the employees?" asked Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.
Hermon confirmed that Nelson was correct.
Gov. John deJongh Jr.'s 2009 budget recommends a General Fund appropriation of $3.5 million for Personnel. This is an increase of $250,000 over 2008. The division expects another $266,000 from the Indirect Costs Fund, filled from federal payment for services provided it by the V.I. Government, for a total budget of $3.8 million.
No votes were taken. All members were present: Nelson, Davis, Dowe, Weber, Sens. Juan Figueroa-Serville, Neville James and Ronald Russell, as well as non-committee member Usie Richards.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.