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Message from the Administrator

Austin L. Nibbs, CPA, CGMA

Greetings! I would like to wish our members and their families a spectacular, New Year - 2019, filled with peace, health, happiness and prosperity!

The future holds many new milestones to achieve and challenges to overcome, but first, I reflect on this past year at the GERS. Despite the challenges we faced after two category 5 hurricanes, we rebounded from system failures and never missed a retiree payroll. For that, I am truly proud of the GERS team for their efforts despite having experienced personal losses themselves. 

I am equally proud of the fact that for the first time, we issued the Annual Benefits Statement as of December 31, 2017 to all active Tier I members, which is available on the GERS Member Self-Service at www.usvigers.com. Note that because of legislative changes to Tier II (i.e.: career-averaging of salaries), our software provider had to first make those changes to our system in order to issue statements for Tier II members. Consequently, our goal is to issue both Tier I and Tier II statements as of December 31, 2018, by the first quarter of 2019.

As the name "GERS" continue to draw attention, questions and some concerns, we saw a record turnout of members for our Town Hall meetings which held February 2018 in both Districts. Though the news isn't always great, it is a really good feeling to see that member are taking an interest in learning more about the System. Additionally, GERS partnered with NCPERs (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems) to host another first for our System - A Public Pension Forum in the Virgin Islands.

The Forum was held August 29th and 30th on St. Croix and was featured on the front page of NCPER's national newsletter, "The Monitor". This Forum brought stakeholders to discuss solvency initiatives that GERS and other public pension systems have implemented to address their pension issues.

We encourage members to stay tuned as we engage you through our Social Media, workshops quarterly news publication, radio update program and other mediums. As initiatives are being taken to address the System's insolvency issue, there is still much to be done in order to keep the System functioning as it should.

Finally, this year will mark 60 years of service and paying annuities and we look forward to collaborating with stakeholders to reform the System. Our goal is to extend the life of the GERS and to continue paying annuities for generations to come.

Austin L. Nibbs, CPA, CGMA