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Brief: DeJongh Shuffles Staff as Penn Steps Down

With the retirement of Chief of Staff Louis Penn Sr. this week, Gov. John deJongh Jr. has shuffled Government House staff, with former deputy chief of staff Pamela Berkowsky taking over for Penn.

Before moving to the Virgin Islands in 2002, Berkowsky held several senior positions in Washington D.C. She served at the White House, State Department and Pentagon, including four years as Assistant Chief of Staff to Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in the Clinton Administration.

Berkowsky earned her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in 1985 from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a master’s degree in 1988 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She spent a year studying international relations in Geneva, Switzerland, as a Fulbright Scholar.

Senior Policy Advisor Nathan Simmonds will take over as deputy chief of staff. Simmonds is also chairman of the Governor’s financial team, and previously served as director of the Governor’s Office of Fiscal & Economic Recovery Implementation. He graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in economics and business administration in 1970 from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico in San German.

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Michelle Meade will fill the position of chief legal counsel, vacant since Adam Christian took a seat as a Virgin Islands Superior Court judge. She has served as assistant legal counsel since 2009. She obtained her law degree from the George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

“I am grateful for the contributions of Louis Penn who came out of retirement in 2007 to serve as my Chief of Staff,” deJongh said in a statement from Government House. “I wish him a happy retirement as I do the other employees who have opted to retire from active service.”

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With the retirement of Chief of Staff Louis Penn Sr. this week, Gov. John deJongh Jr. has shuffled Government House staff, with former deputy chief of staff Pamela Berkowsky taking over for Penn.

Before moving to the Virgin Islands in 2002, Berkowsky held several senior positions in Washington D.C. She served at the White House, State Department and Pentagon, including four years as Assistant Chief of Staff to Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in the Clinton Administration.

Berkowsky earned her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in 1985 from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a master’s degree in 1988 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She spent a year studying international relations in Geneva, Switzerland, as a Fulbright Scholar.

Senior Policy Advisor Nathan Simmonds will take over as deputy chief of staff. Simmonds is also chairman of the Governor’s financial team, and previously served as director of the Governor’s Office of Fiscal & Economic Recovery Implementation. He graduated with a bachelor's of arts in economics and business administration in 1970 from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico in San German.

Michelle Meade will fill the position of chief legal counsel, vacant since Adam Christian took a seat as a Virgin Islands Superior Court judge. She has served as assistant legal counsel since 2009. She obtained her law degree from the George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

“I am grateful for the contributions of Louis Penn who came out of retirement in 2007 to serve as my Chief of Staff,” deJongh said in a statement from Government House. “I wish him a happy retirement as I do the other employees who have opted to retire from active service.”