Joint Board Fighting Stalls Vote on Deputy Elections Supervisor

After convening in executive session to select a candidate for the vacant St. Thomas-St. John deputy elections supervisor position, Joint Board of Elections members failed to come to any final decision after arguing broke out between the districts during Friday’s meeting on St. Thomas.

Because of the fighting and back-and-forth discussion, it was difficult to figure out exactly what happened, but each side had a different story.

According to Joint Board member Adelbert Bryan, the board had come to a consensus in executive session about who they wanted and that someone from St. Thomas-St. John was supposed to make the final motion to hire.

Bryan said that didn’t happen, however, because St. Thomas-St. John members appeared to change their minds afterward, favoring someone else, and in the end, chose not to make the motion because they didn’t have enough votes to get their new candidate passed.

Instead Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. adjourned the meeting once a different motion to suspend St. Croix’s deputy supervisor for a week without pay failed to pass.

Watlington said he adjourned the meeting because of the confusion in the room. During the regular session, he did ask more than twice after the first motion (to suspend St. Croix’s deputy) failed if any other motions would be made and no one answered.

Several St. Croix board members said they were caught up in arguing over the first motion and “were not paying attention” when it came time to make the second one.

The St. Thomas-St. John deputy seat has been vacant for months due to confrontations between board members and former deputy supervisor Nefrediezha Barbel, who went on leave shortly after the August 2014 primary election.

Barbel remained on leave with pay up through the first week of November 2014 and then officially resigned in January.

Watlington said Friday that since no motion to hire a candidate was passed, the Joint Board would have to “see what happens” at its next meeting.

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