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District Elections Board Suspends Member for Dereliction of Duty

St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections members voted Monday to suspend one of their own for “willfully” not attending meetings in August that were called to certify the primary election.

According to the resolution, which was unanimously approved during the meeting held at Elections headquarters on St. Thomas, Wilma Marsh-Monsanto will be suspended until Nov. 15; the board also recommended that her dereliction of duties be “referred to the attorney general for further action.”

The dereliction of duties refers, in the resolution, to Marsh-Monsanto’s “deliberate” refusal to attend two special meetings called in August to certify the primary. In a complaint filed on Aug. 19, Marsh-Monsanto had said her reasons for not attending the meetings was an abstaining from the process for “her own legal protection.”

Specifically Marsh-Monsanto said four of the district board’s members had left the territory without providing notice, which kept the board from convening the quorum it needed to certify the election. A “last minute” meeting was called on Aug. 18, which Marsh-Monsanto contended was “illegal,” since the Aug. 17 deadline to certify the election had already passed.

Marsh-Monsanto added that she had already recused herself from the certification process by the time the second special meeting on Aug. 19 was called, which again prevented a quorum from being established.

With only members Larry Boschulte, Harry Daniel and Claudette Georges in attendance at both meetings, Joint Board Chairwoman Alecia Wells eventually cast the final vote over the phone, which other board members later said might be illegal. The district board finally ended up re-voting and certifying the primary on Aug. 27.

In the resolution passed Monday, board members stated that Marsh-Monsanto’s refusal to show up to the meetings is what pushed them so far past the deadline. Information that four of the board members would be out of the territory from Aug. 14 – 17 had been provided, and when Daniel called together the remaining four members to certify the election, Marsh-Monsanto deliberately didn’t come, according to the document.

Marsh-Monsanto “was contacted and agreed to appear on the Aug. 18 meeting, along with the other three members,” the board’s resolution said. When she didn’t show up, Boschulte, Daniel and Georges rescheduled for the next day and, according to the resolution, despite repeated attempts made by the Attorney General’s Office to locate her at home or work, Marsh-Monsanto could not be found.

“The attorney general even took the extraordinary step of sending his special investigator, Mr. James McCall, to Mrs. Wilma Marsh-Monsanto’s known businesses and residence to secure her appearance, but he was unable to locate her anywhere in the St. Thomas-St. John district,” the document said.

Board members added that Marsh-Monsanto did show up at the Aug. 27 meeting, but again did not vote to certify the primary elections results. She did, however, bill the Elections System for attending the meeting, which, in her invoice, is described as a “crooked special meeting.”

The resolution passed Monday claims Marsh-Monsanto “clearly intended” that the primary election results would not be certified for “the sole purpose of bringing embarrassment to the democratic election process.”

The resolution states that Marsh-Monsanto’s “actions of not appearing for the two meetings were clearly calculated to ensure that the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections would not be able to comply with the mandate.”

Voting in favor of the resolution suspending Marsh-Monsanto were board members Daniel, Georges, Lydia Hendricks and Arturo Watlington Jr.

The board also voted to consolidate more polling places on St. Thomas for the Nov. 4 general election. According to the new listing, the district sites will be as follows:

– Ivanna Eudora Kean High School
– Joseph Gomez Elementary (letters F-N)
– Tutu Park Mall (includes voters from Curriculum Center O-Z and E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary)
– Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School
– Charlotte Amalie High School gym (cafeteria site has been eliminated)
– Oswald Harris Court
– Winston Raymo Recreation Center
– Gladys Abraham Elementary
– Addelita Cancryn (includes voters from Leonard Dober north and south, and Ulla Muller Elementary M-Z)
– Ulla Muller Elementary (A-L)
– Joseph Sibilly Elementary A and B
– Julius Sprauve School on St. John

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