May 16, 2003 – More heads rolled down Government Hill on Friday night as the governor fired three top administration officials, two of them after their bailiwicks had come under recent public scrutiny.
Austin Andrews, executive director of the V.I. Lottery; Roy McFarlane, special assistant to the governor for information technology; and Dodson James, assistant Housing Parks and Recreation commissioner, were all axed effective Friday, but placed on administrative leave with pay until the end of May.
Andrews has been under fire for his handling of the Lottery office, which is in debt to the government to the tune of $4 million.
A recent audit by the V.I. Bureau of Audit and Control revealed substantial mismanagement of federal Y2K funds under the care and control of McFarlane.
James, the son of the late Randall "Doc" James, is a first cousin of Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's first-term lieutenant governor, Gerard Luz James II, who ran against Turnbull in the last gubernatorial race.
Releases sent from Government House at the end of the day on Friday said the governor had accepted resignations from all three men but offered no explanation for the resignations. An individual answering the telephone in the Public Relations Office at Government House said: "They all just walked out the door."
Four successors named
Turnbull also announced on Friday that he has named Gloria H.C. Waterman, a former St. Croix schools superintendent, to fill the position of special assistant on St. Croix that was formerly held by Ohanio Harris.
Harris left government service in April after Harris was exposed as having played a key role in the government's awarding of a controversial $3.6 million contract without competitive bidding to Global Resources Management Inc. for St. Croix sewage system repairs. On April 10, the administration announced that the governor had accepted Harris's resignation effective April 8.
Harris, a former police captain, was making $80,000 a year when he was left. He had received a 37 percent increase from $58,000 a year ago when the governor granted hefty raises to about a thousand unclassified employees several months prior to the general election. It is not known what Waterman will be paid.
Turnbull also announced on Friday that he has named:
– Former Sen. George E. Goodwin, who was Turnbull's campaign manager, to replace another special assistant — O'Bryan. Goodwin was appointed assistant to the governor for public policy effective Monday. O'Bryan was also making $80,000 when he was assigned to fill the post of St. Thomas/Water Island administrator left vacant when Louis Hill resigned to run for the Senate. Hill won his bid.
– Angel A. Turnbull to replace McFarlane, who had received a 25 percent increase in salary last year, bringing his annual pay to $75,000. According to the Government House release Turnbull is a Charlotte Amalie High School graduate and a veteran of the U.S. military with 25 years "of involvement in the computer and technology business." He has worked for the Office of Information Technology since 1999, the release stated.
– Paul L. Flemming to fill Andrews' V.I. Lottery position effective May 27, pending confirmation by the Legislature. In the meantime, Valerie Hammond, deputy executive Lottery director, will service as acting director, the release stated.
Other terminations and resignations
On March 18, Franz Christian, was removed from the post of Police commissioner in the wake of a spate of drive-by shootings, one of which left a 13-year-old girl paralyzed from the waist down. Under Christian's watch the territory last year recorded its highest-ever homicide toll, 44 killings.
One of the first actions of his successor, Elton Lewis, as Police commissioner was to terminate Theodore Carty as St. Thomas deputy police chief and name Elvin Fahie Sr. to the post.
On April 30, 2002, Turnbull fired Ruby Simmonds as Education commissioner. The action came on the day it was announced that the territory's appeal of the loss of accreditation for all three of its accredited public high schools had been rejected.
On April 12, 2002, Conrad Francois II, longtime V.I. Housing Authority executive director, unexpectedly gave his notice of resignation at a VIHA board meeting.
On Dec. 12, 2001, rumors that Amadeo Francis, director of administration of the V.I. Public Finance Authority, had been terminated by Turnbull were confirmed by both parties, although neither would say why.
In January 2001, Dr. Lucien Moolenaar, who had been serving as acting Health commissioner and faced accusations of embezzling about $100,000 from the V.I. government from 1995 to 2000, was replaced by Mavis Matthew. Matthew later became commissioner.
On Oct. 10, 2000, Sonia Jacobs-Dow resigned as Labor commissioner after coming under fire over several months for disarray in the Labor Department.
On July 5, 2000, Turnbull removed Claudette Farrington as Internal Revenue Bureau director and named Louis M. Willis to serve as acting director. Willis later became director.
On May 1, 2000, Wilbur Callender was relieved of his duties as Health commissioner because, Government House said, he was being "insubordinate."
On Oct. 28, 1999, Government House announced that Turnbull had withdrawn his nomination of Michael Bornn to be Tourism commissioner.
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