DIALOGUE continues between the administration and the Government of Guam Retirement Fund on the alternatives proposed by the agency.
“I think that’s a good sign. They’ve now come back with a counter offer that the Retirement Fund proposed. So now I’m waiting for GGRF to utilize the administration’s proposals. Then, I will try to get them together and see if we can work something out between the two of them,” said Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, chairman of the government operations committee.
At issue are the proposed cuts for the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) and the amortization program in the Omnibus Budget Reform Act or Bill 507-31.
GGRF Director Paula Blas has submitted three alternatives: voluntary separation incentive pay; the so-called “Furlough Fridays”; and a pension bond.
Bureau of Budget Management and Research Director John Rios has already sent a letter to Cruz indicating the governor has agreed to implement a smaller early retirement program as well as the 10-year temporary extension of the amortization period. Gov. Eddie Calvo, however, is opposed to the “Furlough Fridays” alternative, announcing this in a special address.
Rios said in the letter that the administration is interested in components of the alternative plans Blas provided to Cruz.
“While Optional Retirement Alternatives 1 and 2 are not early retirement programs and will not help the situation, we do appreciate and wish to pursue the ERIP alternative,” Rios said. The ERIP alternative would allow members who are within five years of reaching retirement service to purchase years of credit that would bring them to full retirement service.
Cruz, meanwhile, clarified reports that there has been a compromise.
“There is no compromise pending the outcome of the Retirement Fund’s response to the counter offer in hopes of a final resolution,” he said.
Cruz said the Retirement Fund was willing to have a short extension in the early retirement plan but only if there was a hybrid plan. Cruz referred to Bill 453-31, which would provide additional money to GGRF to make up for the extension.
“The administration is still considering that, or at least they didn’t dismiss it outright, because they have some concerns about it. But I’d like for them to work together,” Cruz said.