Senator Frett-Gregory's Amendment to pay retroactive wages owed to Government Retirees and Employees
August 31, 2022
St. Thomas, USVI – Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory is pleased that her amendment to pay government employees and retirees owed retroactive wages from FY1990 through FY2001 on an equal percentage basis was unanimously adopted during yesterday’s Legislative Session. During testimony, the OMB Director stated that the plan was to pay the $40 million retroactive payment out at a flat $3,700. This methodology while expedient is not fair or effective because all retroactive payments are not equal as it relates to amounts owed, said Frett-Gregory. With the adoption of amendment 34-620, those owed will be paid at an equal percentage and are expected to receive approximately 22.8% of their retroactive wages.
Amendment 34-620 aligns the payment method to that of 2010 which paid an equal percent, 16.7%, of the amount owed to affected individuals. With this payment the overall percentage paydown will total 39.5% with approximately 60.5% remaining to be paid. During the FY23 budget markup Senator Frett-Gregory pledged to work with her colleagues to appropriate funds to continue to paydown the retroactive wages. Frett-Gregory also requested that the Directors of Personnel and Office of Management and Budget revisit the $10 million retroactive wage appropriation for retirees 65 and over and pay the approximately $2.8 million remaining on an equal percentage rate basis.
Frett-Gregory was also successful in adopting an amendment to expand language to allow student athletes to utilize funds previously only earmarked for interscholastic sports to use those funds for uniforms, out of the territory travel, sporting equipment and other sports-related activities. Senator Frett-Gregory stated that we must make available to our children opportunities and pathways to success.
“The Government of the Virgin Islands is not a for profit corporation, any surplus in the fiscal year must be used to pay outstanding obligations, and it is my responsibility as the people’s representative to ensure that we make our employees and retirees whole,” concluded Frett-Gregory.
Office of Senate President Donna A. Frett-Gregory