The Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Thursday in approval of Dayna Clendinen as director of the V.I. Government’s Division of Personnel (DOP).
Clendinen came with a group of nearly 20 people comprised of family, friends and colleagues who supported the nominee by filling the seats in matching colored ensembles.
“You have a Herculean task ahead of you,” Sen. Alicia Barnes said about the many challenges faced by the DOP. The director of personnel is responsible for the operations and policies of eight various units, including the Human Resources Information Systems and Fiscal and Administrative Services.
Clendinen announced several goals for the DOP and said her immediate objectives are to improve the working conditions of staff in both districts, rebrand the DOP, and put into action engagement strategies to bring together human resource professionals who live in the islands.
“I believe that if I take care of the physical environment in which my employees must work, creating a better workspace, it will boost employee morale and individual organization,” Clendinen said. She announced her commitment to the replacement of water-damaged floors, new paint and essential repairs of DOP facilitates.
Rebranding the DOP has its challenges, said Clendinen. “The shift will require adequate training, development of actionable strategies, accountability and a shift in the organization’s culture,” she said.
“I am very proud of you,” Barnes said to the nominee. Barnes then expressed her gratitude for the nominations made by Gov. Albert Bryan, of which Barnes said exceptional women like Clendinen were called to lead in key government positions.
Of the three nominees in Thursday’s committee meeting, two were approved. Both Clendinen and Leona Smith, who was nominated for a position on the board of the V.I. Port Authority, are women.
Daryl Jaschen, nominated to serve as director for the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), is awaiting a decision from the committee, which decided to wait until the call of the committee’s chairperson.
“I too have to commend the governor. When we talk about equality of society and the lack of women in the work place… this administration has demonstrated its commitment to equality by putting women in strategic and important positions,” Sen. Myron Jackson said.
Like Clendinen, Smith too said she has ambitious goals.
She welcomed the idea of water taxis, and Smith said she wants to beautify the Cyril E. King Airport and wants to use marinas to attract more tourism to St. John.
“Being a St. Johnian, I am uniquely positioned to experience and understand firsthand how our marine ports and airport can directly be the gateway for the development and expansion of the Virgin Islands,” Smith said.
“I have learned that a number of significant projects have stopped or are behind schedule for reason beyond my understanding,” Smith said. She then cited several incomplete projects like the Red Hook parking facility and Gallows Bay dredging.
Senators said they primarily agreed with the aspirations of the two nominees and the level of experience the two would bring to their respective government agencies. Barnes congratulated both women after the vote to approve nomination and said she commends anyone who “accepts the call to serve.”