The 27-page bill passed at the end of January by the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. early in February has been hailed by sponsors as saving the Government Employees’ Retirement System. It offers the structure to save the GERS, but the process must succeed.
The administration moved the process two steps forward last week and hopes to get the bonds to market within six weeks.
Bryan said in a press release that speed was critical for the government to secure the best interest rates possible. He added, “The process of getting to final closing still has many steps and risks before we are able to achieve the final goal of closing on the bonds.”
One action the administration took was signing a settlement agreement with GERS dismissing pending legal actions. GERS and the government have been in legal disputes about funding and payments for over two decades. In the year 2000, the GERS sued the government because of an early retirement incentive program it was offering. Since then, other suits have been filed, and Bryan said the suits have cost the government millions of dollars in legal fees.
Another step taken by Bryan last week was the naming of the four financial managers who will join him in managing the refinancing of the Rum Tax Cover-Over Bonds. The refinancing of these bonds is predicted by the legislature and the administration to create savings that can be streamed into the GERS so it can survive for another 30 years.
This Board of Directors will oversee the Matching Fund Special Purpose Securitization Corporation. It is being established as an independent, public corporation separate from the Government. The legislation defines it as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt entity, and its operations may not be conducted to make a profit.
A board member cannot have been employed by the V.I. government within the last three years. They must have at least seven years of executive or board experience in accounting, banking, finance, law, management, or public administration. The board members may be paid up to $1,500 for each meeting of the board, not to exceed one paid meeting per quarter. Also, directors are entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
The appointees are:
Michelle Dreyer, who is the managing director of CSC Global Financial Markets. She oversees independent director services and default administration services and has previously served in a variety of services for CSC.
Pamela Jasinski, who is the vice president of Special Purpose Vehicle Management for CSC Global Financial Markets, which she joined in 1998. Her client services team provides accounting, administrative, employee, officer, and director services.
Kristine Eppes is the team leader of the Independent Director Group for CSC Global Financial Markets, which she joined in 1997. Her responsibilities include serving as an independent director and managing transactions that require the review and negotiation of organizational documents, contracts, and other legal documents.
Sheila Robinson, who is the chief financial officer for New York State Homes and Community Renewal (the nation’s largest housing agency) and has more than four decades of experience across various sectors, including insurance, banking, ratings, and government, as well as securitization experience in loans and other asset-backed products.
An email to the administration asking whether any of the appointees had any ties to the territory was not answered.