Nathan Simmonds, currently Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James' right-hand man, particularly for fiscal affairs, is about to be tapped to lead the administration's efforts to implement revenue enhancement and cost-saving measures, according to informed sources.
Simmonds was traveling between islands Thursday afternoon and was unavailable for comment. Government House had no comment on the reports.
However, an administrative official confirmed that Gov. Charles W. Turnbull plans to appoint Simmonds to oversee the implementation of recommendations outlined in the Five Year Operating and Strategic Financial Plan.
The comprehensive plan is the work of a joint private-public sector task force. It was submitted to the governor last year. Some of its recommendations have made it into legislation. But the key element of the plan – the establishment of a Fiscal Recovery Implementation Task Force – has yet to be put in place.
The plan suggested the governor appoint at least seven members to the task force, with the majority of them from the private sector. It also recommended that at least for the first year the chairman should be from the private sector rather than a government employee.
"The work of the task force should be supported by a full-time office – Office of Fiscal and Economic Recovery Implementation – located in Government House," according to the plan. "This office should be headed by a Cabinet-level manager and should be provided the necessary administrative support to carry out its function."
It is not clear whether Turnbull will set up a task force as described in the plan or whether Simmonds would chair the task force or hold the position of manager.
But "the governor's focus is really upon recovery from the current economic situation," according to the official. And "Nathan has a very strong background in financial matters."
Simmonds served for many years as legislative post auditor before moving into the executive branch. He also has helped run family businesses, including rental properties and a grocery store.