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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, June 27, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWHAT'S REALLY WRONG WITH THE MOORHEAD DEAL

WHAT'S REALLY WRONG WITH THE MOORHEAD DEAL

A lot of people seem to be up in arms over the $30,000-a-year legislative contract signed by Sens. Adelbert M. Bryan and Alicia "Chucky" Hansen with St. Croix radio personality Mario Moorhead to publicize their activities and positions.
We don't share all of their concerns – particularly those relating to senators spending public money to promote their political positions and philosophy. Isn't that a time-honored tradition in legislative bodies everywhere? Don't most of our senators have people on their payrolls whose job it is to tout to the Virgin Islands electorate what a splendid job their bosses are doing? Some even do it on the radio!
What we do object to, however, is the decision to pay Moorhead up front for work not yet performed. That is a totally improper use of public money.
And if reports are correct that the Legislature is considering leasing WAXJ, the radio station Moorhead is supposed to use to broadcast legislative sessions and meetings of the committees headed by Bryan and Hansen, that too is cause for public concern – and should be of great interest to the Federal Communications Commission.
A more likely scenario, however, seems to be that Moorhead is trying to buy WAXJ himself – this according to Tuesday's Avis, which broke the original story about Moorhead's sweetheart deal – and that the $30,000 up-front payment is designed to help him accomplish that. Again, this underscores the impropriety of paying anyone for public services not yet performed. The Legislature should not be fronting public money to people to help them close their own private business deals.
And what happens if Moorhead can't perform the services outlined in his contract – services for which he has already been paid? Bryan and Hansen left themselves a clever out on that one. The contract specifies that if Moorhead loses his ties to WAXJ, the senators can amend it to utilize Moorhead's "skills and talents to perform related tasks and to assist with other legislative activities." Hard to object to that – a lot of senators have done the same and worse with people on contract to them, as a recent audit of the Legislature showed.

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A lot of people seem to be up in arms over the $30,000-a-year legislative contract signed by Sens. Adelbert M. Bryan and Alicia "Chucky" Hansen with St. Croix radio personality Mario Moorhead to publicize their activities and positions.
We don't share all of their concerns - particularly those relating to senators spending public money to promote their political positions and philosophy. Isn't that a time-honored tradition in legislative bodies everywhere? Don't most of our senators have people on their payrolls whose job it is to tout to the Virgin Islands electorate what a splendid job their bosses are doing? Some even do it on the radio!
What we do object to, however, is the decision to pay Moorhead up front for work not yet performed. That is a totally improper use of public money.
And if reports are correct that the Legislature is considering leasing WAXJ, the radio station Moorhead is supposed to use to broadcast legislative sessions and meetings of the committees headed by Bryan and Hansen, that too is cause for public concern - and should be of great interest to the Federal Communications Commission.
A more likely scenario, however, seems to be that Moorhead is trying to buy WAXJ himself - this according to Tuesday's Avis, which broke the original story about Moorhead's sweetheart deal - and that the $30,000 up-front payment is designed to help him accomplish that. Again, this underscores the impropriety of paying anyone for public services not yet performed. The Legislature should not be fronting public money to people to help them close their own private business deals.
And what happens if Moorhead can't perform the services outlined in his contract - services for which he has already been paid? Bryan and Hansen left themselves a clever out on that one. The contract specifies that if Moorhead loses his ties to WAXJ, the senators can amend it to utilize Moorhead's "skills and talents to perform related tasks and to assist with other legislative activities." Hard to object to that - a lot of senators have done the same and worse with people on contract to them, as a recent audit of the Legislature showed.