Published: Jun 27, 2024

ST. THOMAS – The Committee on Budget, Appropriations, and Finance, under the leadership of Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory met in the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall. Lawmakers received testimony on the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget for the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States for the Department of Labor, the Office of Collective Bargaining, and the Division of Personnel.

Gary Molloy, Commissioner of the Department of Labor delivered its proposed FY 2025 budget, totaling $20,145,247. The General Fund appropriation, inclusive of the Government Insurance Miscellaneous Project (M2454) is $13,637,468. Federal grants total $6,316,058, and penalty and interest contribute $191,722. Personnel Services are at $4,441,246, Fringe Benefits are $4,408,343, Supplies are at $472,902, Other Services are at $4,074,146, and Utility Services are at $240,831. The Department of Labor has 109 employees in the territory. 49 employees are in St. Croix and 60 are in St. Thomas/St. John District. 69 employees are classified in the Seafarers International Union of North America and United Steelworkers unions. 34 positions are exempt. 6 are classified as non-union positions. There are 18 new and vacant positions. 9 vacant/new positions are on the general fund. 6 positions are in the St. Thomas-St. John District and three are in the St. Croix District.

Joss Springette, Esq, Chief Negotiator of the Office of Collective Bargaining presented its proposed budget of $1,375,564. This includes Personnel Services of $772,895, Fringe Benefits of $330,716, Equipment and Supplies at $32,000, Utilities at $13,000, and Other Services at $226,453. The utility cost is only applicable to the St. Croix Office, as the Office does not pay utilities at its St. Thomas Office. Other Services include operating expenses such as rent, service agreements, IT, Communications, and Training. There are six employees, and one Assistant Attorney General- Labor, which is assigned to the Office by the Department of Justice. OCB’s employees are classified as non-union employees, while the Assistant Attorney General-Labor is an exempt employee.

Cindy Richardson, Director of the Division of Personnel, presented a total budget of $44,855,501. Of this, $44,279,634 comes from the general fund. $530,867 is from the Indirect Cost Fund, and $45,000 is from non-appropriated funds, totaling $44,855,501.  The total operating budget for the department is $5,353,962. This includes $3,249,938.19 for Personnel Services, $1,458,360.11 for fringe benefits, $58,000 for supplies and $587,663.70 for other services and supplies. In the miscellaneous budget, most is allotted for Health Insurance for retirees, at $38,210,672. The Certified Public Manager Program is allotted $75,000, GVI Employees Recognition Activities, $80,000, Contribution Health Insurance Board $275,000, and Health Insurance Consultants $285,000. In the Other Services and Charges category, it includes $29,853.98 for Repair/Maintenance, $500 for Auto Repair/Maintenance, $2,500 for Rental of Machines/Equipment, $25,000 for Training, $50,000 for Communication, $44,000 for Advertising/Promotion, $5,000 for Transportation-non-Travel, $30,000 for Travel, $25,000 for Purchase of Bulk Airline Tickets, and $375,809.72 for Professional Services. The department’s Indirect Cost Fund is $530,867.00 which includes $7,869 for Supplies, $303,098 for Other Services and Charges, and $219,900 for Utilities. The Division of Personnel has 49 employees. There are currently 44 funded positions.  There are 5 vacant positions. 28 positions are in the St. Thomas-St. John District.  16 are in the St. Croix District. There are 7 union-represented and 19 non-union positions. 18 are exempt.

Senators present at today’s committee hearing included Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Marvin A. Blyden, Samuel Carriόn, Dwayne M. Degraff, Ray Fonseca, Kenneth L. Gittens, Marise C. James, and Javan E. James, Sr.  

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