Nov. 13, 2003 – "After seemingly endless meetings — public and private, endless conferences with government officials — public and private, and endless Senate hearings — public, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg announced on Thursday evening that his Finance Committee will hold its final fiscal year 2004 budget meetings on Nov. 10 and 12."
The above paragraph actually was published on Oct. 30. Two weeks later, the Nov. 12 meeting has not yet taken place. With the rain cited as the reason, the Wednesday session was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, then was delayed to 11 a.m., then to 1 p.m. and, finally, postponed entirely again, until 10 a.m. Friday.
Because of the weather the three St. Croix members of the committee — Sens. Norman Jn Baptiste, Luther Renee and Ronald Russell — were unable to fly to St. Thomas on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Donastorg said that while the weather had one senator still stuck on St. Croix, there also were other complications. "We have some problems we need to work out" regarding the budget, he said. "Also, later, we will provide information to the media about some erroneous information" published Thursday morning.
Majority Sens. Emmett Hansen II and Louis Hill, on their way to caucus in a nearby government office on Thursday morning, confirmed the group still had several issues to hammer out. The majority has yet to make its budget proposals public, other than to say they differ significantly from those of Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. Donastorg had said at the Finance Committee's Monday session that the plans would be unveiled at the meeting then scheduled for Wednesday.
Delay of the second Finance session has had a domino effect on other scheduled meetings. From Finance, the budget will go to the Rules Committee. Rules meetings that were scheduled for Thursday and Friday now will be moved to next week. The full Senate had been scheduled to meet all of next week. Meanwhile, Jn Baptiste, who chairs the Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee, announced early this week that his panel would meet next Monday, then changed that to Tuesday, which at this point may or may not stand.
Donastorg said that Senate President David Jones would make an announcement later Thursday on next week's schedule.
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