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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, May 21, 2024


The Bureau of Economic Research, which was operating as a semi-independent agency, is now squarely under the Office of the Governor, and Rudolph Krigger, assistant to the governor for fiscal policy and economic affairs, is calling the shots.
Gov. Charles Turnbull made the change by executive order July 25, but did not announce it to the public. The order calls for the immediate administrative transfer and for the bureau's budget to be part of the Office of the Governor starting Oct. 1 when the new fiscal year begins. Krigger is to have oversight of the bureau staff.
"It's not going to affect them in any which way," Krigger said Tuesday. "They're going to do the same job."
That job, he said, is to research statistics for the government and for the entire territory. "We felt that the priorities for the territory could best be addressed" if the bureau were under the Governor's Office, he said.
Krigger said he "personally" had a problem in the past with the bureau's work priorities. In preparing the administration's 2001 budget proposal, "we were trying to look at the pros and cons of a sales tax and we just couldn't get it done."
Lauritz Mills, formerly the chief economist, has replaced Angela Ramos-Michael as acting director of the bureau, Krigger said. Ramos-Michael "will be doing what she was doing before (being named acting director) – dealing with grant writing" and other projects.
Krigger said no cuts in personnel are anticipated. "What we'd like to do is beef it up," but with cutbacks in government employment "we might have to contract some (work) out in the short run."
The office will remain where it is for now – at Post Office Square in downtown Charlotte Amalie in the former Bank of America building. It shares space with the Community Development Bank. Krigger said eventually he'd like to move all of the government offices out of that space to save money on rentals.
For many years, the Bureau of Economic Research was part of the Department of Economic Development and its forerunner, the Commerce Department.

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