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Board of Elections Hampered by Lack of Quorum

Three members of the St. Croix Elections Board met for more than an hour Wednesday, although there was no quorum to act on issues including electing officers and approving vendor payments.

Present at the meeting were Chairman Adelbert Bryan, Roland Moolenaar and new member Barbara Jackson McIntosh. They heard reports from board administrative assistant Terrell Alexandre and Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes.

Alexandre reported bills and stipends were paid for the general election worker until there was an “issue with the account.” He said Fawkes was working with the Finance Department to release funds.

Fawkes told the board she is in contact with the Office of Management and Budget to release $39,000 approved by the Legislature to help pay for election and recount expenses.

Current invoices cannot be paid without a quorum after the board voted last October to disallow payments approved by the chairman only. The vote was prompted when the board discovered Bryan hired an assistant, rented a car and changed the locks at the office without board notice or approval.

During the course of the meeting, Bryan pointed out that there has not been a financial report on the cost of the elections and the recount.

Fawkes announced a teleconference Thursday with the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission. After auditing V.I. Elections System in 2013 and visiting since then, the commission will report on progress made by the territory.

Several members of the St. Croix District Board of Elections are reportedly off island and one resigned in December. Rupert Ross, a member for 12 years and past president, resigned his seat, citing “dysfunction” created in part by Bryan. His presumed replacement based, on party line and number of votes, is former member Raymond Williams who, as of the meeting Wednesday, had not been notified or agreed to serve.

Member Glenn Williams is off island recovering from surgery and vice chair Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal and member Lisa Harris Moorhead sent word by email that they would be unable to attend the meeting.

Another meeting has been set by Bryan for Jan. 16 to elect officers. A meeting of the Joint Board of Elections is scheduled for Jan. 23 on St. Thomas.

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