Retirement Fund, Adelup set to square off - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Retirement Fund, Adelup set to square off

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The Government of Guam Retirement Fund and members of the Calvo Administration are set to square off next week to discuss alternative solutions both parties proffered along with hopes of finding some compromise to the governor's spending cuts proposal.  While the Retirement Fund's board prepares itself for Monday's roundtable discussion regarding the governor's spending cuts proposal, chairman on the Committee on Government Operations, Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz paid a visit to the board this afternoon in hopes of providing some diplomacy between the two sides.

"But I really do think it's important that we all continue to leave the lines of communication open because again using my prior experience as a family court judge, we are one family," he said.  Cruz says it's best to figure out a way to save the Retirement Fund and assist the General Fund, saying one can't exist without the other.  "We've got to figure out some way we can both live together," he said.

As we reported, the Retirement Fund's alternatives included a "Furlough Friday" plan, a voluntary separation incentive program coupled with a hybrid retirement plan and implementing a pension bond. And while they opposed the Furlough Fridays alternative, the Administration proposed a compromise alternative to implement a smaller early Retirement Fund program limited to employees who are within five years of retiring and a ten-year temporary extension of the amortization period.

Board chairman Joe T. San Agustin continued to be opposed to the early retirement incentive program, saying it would jeopardize future retirees of the plan. "And that's what the actuary and investment are telling us that, as I said in the hearing, it's actually a big knife out there and let it drip you let the blood keep on dripping and it's a slow starvation," he said.

GGRF director Paula Blas called the Administration's proposal a double-whammy that ends up hitting the fund on both sides. "The re-amortization to my understanding is the most important thing they want and that's something that I don't think we can even consider," she said.

Cruz meanwhile planned to meet with BBMR director John Rios in preparing for Monday's roundtable.    While he hopes to find some resolution soon, he in no way is forcing the issue to be done before the election but wants to keep the discussion open. "My concern is have some kind of a solution or resolution between the two sides that will survive a court battle because the last thing I want is for any of you or us to be tied up in litigation for years because we absolutely get no savings and nothing happens," he said.

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