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Thursday, September 29, 2022


There were no big surprises in the final Cabinet appointments revealed at Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's press conference Thursday. But two Cabinet members remain unnamed: Labor commissioner and Police commissioner.
In keeping with his pledge not to be pushed, Turnbull said he is determined to make sure he chooses the right person — in particular for the Police commissioner's position. He said he is looking both inside and outside the territory to fill that job. "It is customary and refreshing," he said, to look for someone who is not from here to lead the Police Department. With the "escalation in crime"it is a very important decision and he said he would not be rushed into a decision. Turnbull also said he would keep his promise not to have a "galaxy"of deputies and assistants to assistants. He said the commissioners would be paid $65,000 a year and said he did not favor additional contracts or stipends. However, he did say he would consider making exceptions and cited doctors who leave a practice making $200,000 a year to go into government service as perhaps one of those exceptions. "We might consider giving them a $10,000 or so stipend," he said. Turnbull seemed relaxed and comfortable as he joked with the assemblage at the video conference center. He said he would be away from Feb. 19 to 27 attending governors' conferences in Washington, D.C. When asked about his view of the Beal Aerospace project in St. Croix, he called himself an environmentalist. But he also said government must be business-friendly and not drive potential investors away.. He also said he was not in favor of the "huge" Tan Kay Hock proposal for a hotel and marina at Long Bay that would "extend from Frenchman's Reef to Frenchtown." He said he would like to see a scaled-down version of the Yacht Haven project.
When asked about the recent airline slowdown, Turnbull said, "American Airlines should treat us better" and have a greater "social conscience." He repeated something he has said before, that the Virgin Islands should have its own airline. As far as how much money will be saved by his mandate to government employees to restrict travel and limit use of government vehicles he said even if it save a penny it had to be done.But he estimated it would save more than that. Turnbull finished by saying that he was taking his time because he couldn't afford too many sleepless nights, and added it was important to manage his time. His self-evaluation thus far in office: "I feel a big improvement over what was there." The final cabinet appointments starting with the new appointments are:
Bernice Turnbull, Commissioner, Department of Finance
Clement "Cain" Magras, Commissioner, Department of Tourism
Atty. Dean C. Plaskett, Commissioner, Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Harold G. Thompson Jr., Commissioner, Department of Public Works
Marc Biggs, Commissioner, Department of Property & Procurement
Andrew Rutnik, Commissioner, Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs
Henry Schuster, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture
Ira Roderick Mills, Director, Office of Budget and Management
Claudette Farrington, Director, Bureau of Internal Revenue
Pedro M. Encarnacion, Director, Virgin Islands Fire Service
Gregory R. Francis, Director, Office of Veterans Affairs
Joanne U. Barry, Director, Division of Personnel
Those previously nominated are:
Dr. Wilbur K. Callender, Commissioner, Department of Health
Ira M. Hobson, Commissioner, Housing, Parks and Recreation Department
Dr. Ruby Simmonds, Commissioner, Department of Education
Iver A. Stridiron, Esq., Attorney General, Department of Justice
Those remaining in current positions:
Sedonie Halbert, Commissioner, Department of Human Services
Steven G. van Beverhoudt, Inspector General, Bureau of Audit and Control
Major General Jean A. Romney, Adjutant General, V.I. National Guard
And the two commissioner serving in acting positions:
Franz Christian, Commissioner, V.I. Police Department
Eleuteria Roberts, Commissioner, Department of Labor

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