Sept. 12, 2001 – Thursday's Senate Rules Committee hearing on St. Thomas is to convene as scheduled. A bill that was to have been considered has been removed from the agenda, but two nominations to the Public Services Commission will be heard.
Luis Sylvester, chief of staff to the committee chair, Sen. Carlton Dowe, said Wednesday that a bill from the Labor and Veterans Committee affecting the Unemployment Insurance Fund was removed from Thursday's agenda because that committee meeting, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, was canceled. The bill had been scheduled for Rules consideration pending its approval by Labor and Veterans Affairs.
Still on the agenda for Rules are hearings on Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's nominations of Verne C. David and Jerris T. Browne to serve on the PSC.
Browne's nomination was first heard at an Aug. 30 hearing where three other PSC nominations were approved. Browne, Police deputy commissioner, was to have filled the position of Patrick Williams of St. Croix. Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole moved approval of the nomination but received no second as the committee sat silent. Earlier, Sen. Norma Pickard-Samuel had questioned Browne's knowledge of the PSC and expressed surprise that Browne was unaware of current legislation mandating rate investigations.
Sylvester said the nomination can be brought to the floor again and voted on.
At the Aug. 30 hearing, Rules approved Alric Simmonds, Turnbull's deputy chief of staff, to chair the PSC, replacing Walter Challenger. It also approved Valencio Jackson, Finance Department assistant commissioner, to fill a board vacancy; and Desmond Maynard to serve another term on the commission. Maynard has been a PSC member since 1995.

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