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Simmonds Withdraws from Controversy, Phillips Nomination Held up Again

March 9, 2006 – The controversial nomination of Alric Simmonds to the Public Services Commission is off the Senate table after months of debate.
Senators pulled Simmonds name from consideration at Wednesday's Legislative full session after receiving a letter from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull stating that Simmonds requested his nomination be withdrawn. "It is with regret that I grant Mr. Simmonds' request," Turnbull wrote. "And I hereby withdraw Mr. Simmonds name for consideration only because he has requested that I do so."
Simmonds nomination to a second term came under fire in August and a month later senators turned down the nomination because of his close ties to Government House and his seemingly favorable bias toward Vitelco, also known as Innovative Telephone – a regulated public utility (See " Simmonds Nomination Nixed by Senate, 8 Others Approved").
Undaunted, the governor resubmitted his nomination.
When it came up for consideration during a Rules and Judiciary Committee meeting in early February, senators again said they were concerned that Simmonds' presence on the board presented a conflict of interest because he is Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's deputy chief of staff and also because of questionable moves Simmonds made in support of the phone company keeping their financial records confidential. However, they did pass his name along to the full body with an unfavorable recommendation (See "Simmonds Receives Unfavorable Recommendation for PSC Board").
"He's lucky his name is gone," Sen. Usie R. Richards, one of the more vocal opponents to the Simmonds nomination, said during Wednesday's session. Only Sen. Roosevelt David voted against removing Simmonds' nomination.
Senators also voted to move the nomination of acting Public Works Commissioner George Phillips to Thursday's full session, giving him more time to submit various financial records to the Legislature.
However, Sen. Lorraine L. Berry explained Phillips' nomination might have to be acted on whether or not the documents are received. "After a nomination is first introduced in the Legislature, we only have 90 days after that to act on it," Berry said. "And since the time to consider this particular nomination is almost up, we have to act on it because if we don't, then Mr. Phillips will become commissioner by default."
The nomination of Desmond L. Maynard to the Government Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees during Wednesday's full session was also put on Thursday's agenda, since senators said they were waiting for the Finance Department to confirm whether or not Maynard is up to date on his property taxes.
Senators did approve eight other nominees to various boards and commissions, along with seven government leases.
Nominees are:
–Eugene Petersen to the Virgin Islands Public Television Board.
–Leo Francis to the Virgin Islands Historic Preservation Commission.
–Felipe Ayala to the Virgin Islands Historic Preservation Commission.
–Ronald Lockhart to the Virgin Islands Historic Preservation Commission.
–Raymond James to the Government Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees.
–Ray Anthony Isles to the St. Croix Horse Racing Commission.
–Samuel Garnett to the Parole Board.
–Francis E. Jackson Jr. to the St. Thomas-St. John Hospitals and Health Facilities Corporation District Governing Board.
Leases are:
–a lease agreement between the government and K-9's On Patrol Service ($48,000 per year).
–a lease agreement between the government and Jeffrey P. Bryan doing business as J.B. Head and Machine Shop ($7,902 per year).
–a lease agreement between the government and Island Tri-Corp. ($15,661.20 per year).
–a lease agreement between the government and Naomi Archibald doing business as N'Kida Fashion ($4,796.25 per year).
–a lease agreement between the government and Sam and Jam Inc. doing business as Coconuts Bar and Grill ($6,000 per year).
–a lease agreement between the government and Cash Mufflers Inc. ($13,840 per year).
–a lease agreement between the government and Paris Car Rental Inc. ($6,613.75 per year)
All senators were present at Wednesday's session.

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