Dec. 16, 2003 – The Public Works deputy commissioner whose resignation was announced on Tuesday by Government House says he didn't resign. Randy Germain says he was fired by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull for being a whistleblower.
Germain, employed by DPW on St. Croix for the last four and a half years, said on Tuesday that he has consulted with a lawyer and will take his complaint against the government to court.
His boss, Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood, would say only that "I don't care to comment" on Tuesday.
Germain was placed on administrative leave as of Monday in advance of his resignation taking effect on Friday.
In March, Germain wrote to Callwood citing two instances of what he described as improper activities taking place within Public Works. Robert Moorehead, Public Works assistant commissioner on St. Croix, also wrote to Callwood concerning alleged fraud within the department.
The allegations led to an investigation by the V.I. Inspector General's Office, which concluded in September that the charges were unsubstantiated. (See "I.G. found 'insufficient evidence' of DPW fraud".)
But on Tuesday, a few days after receiving a letter from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull formally accepting his pro forma resignation from last year, Germain remained adamant.
"When Turnbull won the second time, he requested commissioners, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners to turn in their resignations," he explained, describing a routine procedure at the start of a new administration for appointive officials who serve at the pleasure of the chief executive.
"The governor went back in the files and found my letter of resignation and used it against me," Germain said Tuesday. "I was terminated because I blew the whistle, but we'll deal with that in court."
Germain said he's standing by his claims that Public Works is plagued by corruption. He said the audit conducted by Inspector General Steven van Beverhoudt had to produce an inconclusive result because the inspector general works for the attorney general.
"They never conducted an investigation," Germain charged. "The facts are there."
On Tuesday, Germain declined to detail his allegations publicly. In his March letter to Callwood, he stated that "monies have been paid to a high-level DPW official for services rendered, to include kickbacks."
Last summer, Germain took his complaints to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Since then, he said, he has heard nothing in reply.
Federal "whistleblower" laws protect employees who bring attention to wrongdoing in the workplace, Germain said, and he and his attorney had been waiting for the V.I. government to act against him so that he could carry his challenge into the legal arena.
Germain said he landed his job in the Public Works Department after campaigning for Turnbull against then-Gov. Roy Schneider in 1998.
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