Repairing the Government Employees’ Retirement System will require “shared sacrifice” on the part of all those involved – retirees, active members, plan sponsors and GERS staff – the board determined after its annual retreat June 28-30 on St. John and announced in a news release.
But the first two groups, retirees and government employees counting on the system for their retirement, will have to wait a little longer to find out what it is they’re being asked to sacrifice. Board, management and staff of GERS left the three-day retreat Saturday with a plan for GERS and a timeline that will delay announcing the plan until more meetings are held.
According to the press release issued Monday afternoon, administrator Austin L. Nibbs and Board Chairman Raymond T. James will present the board’s recommendations and proposed legislative changes to the GERS Pension Joint Task Force before releasing the proposal to the public.
The task force was recently established by Gov. John deJongh Jr., and Nibbs and James have been appointed to serve on it. The group is to meet at an unspecified date this month.
Calls to GERS were not returned Tuesday because of the Emancipation Day holiday.
The main topic of discussion was the unfunded liability that could leave the system bankrupt before some current employees retire. GERS pays out more in retirement benefits than it takes in in contributions.
Also discussed were “missing contributions,” a proposed increase in the contribution rates, changing retirement eligibility and changing the standard for basing an annuity from the average salary an employee earned during his final five years of service to the career average earnings.
Representatives of the Segal Company, a firm that provides actuarial services for GERS and other fund trustees, created models to show how proposed actions and legislative changes could affect the system. Meketa Investment Group, the new investment advisors for GERS, presented an update on the current market performance as of May 31 and predictions based on market trends.
Also taking part were members of the governor’s financial team, financial advisor David Paul, Office of Management and Budget Director Debra Gottlieb, and policy advisor Anise Hodge. Sen. Louis Patrick Hill was the only member of the V.I. Legislature to join in.
Haldane Davies of the University of the Virgin Islands presented a strategic plan overview for the system. GERS has been collaborating with the university to determine a realistic long-term plan for the organization in defining and achieving its goals.