Soraya Diase Coffelt Urges Prompt Payment to Retirees of Improper GERS Withholdings

Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands, March 23, 2014 --( Gubernatorial candidate Soraya Diase Coffelt today announced support for the prompt payment of contributions that were improperly withheld from retroactive salary payments to government retirees in 2010. Eight percent or what the Government Employees Retirement System (GERS) estimates totals $1.5 million was withheld as employee pension contributions, despite the fact that these former government employees were already retired at the time.

“It is clear to all involved that these contributions should never have been withheld. Even GERS agrees, and now it is time that our government retirees receive the money that rightfully belongs to them in the first place,” said Diase Coffelt. “This issue again highlights the need for meaningful reform of the GERS. As Governor, I will work with the legislature to resolve these inherent problems in order to ensure that the retirement system does not fail. There is too much at stake for our current and future retirees.”

A 2011 report by U.S. Department of the Interior Acting Inspector General found that the GERS is in critical danger of collapse due to its $1.4 billion unfunded liability. Despite the IG’s finding that it is “one of the most under-funded plans in the Nation,” serious action steps have yet to be taken to secure the system’s sustainability. The unfunded liability has now grown to an estimated $1.8 billion.
Committee To Elect Soraya Diase Coffelt Governor
Etienne A. Gibbs
Maggie Harrell, Primary Contact