“This is some bullshit,” St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections member Ivy K. Moses said Friday after discovering that three of her colleagues had flown over to St. Croix for a Joint Board meeting that was supposed to take place in both districts over videoconference.
Moses, along with St. Thomas-St. John District board members Diane Magras, Carla Joseph and Alecia Wells, remained on St. Thomas for the meeting, while District Board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr., Larry Boschulte and Lydia Hendricks surprised their colleagues by appearing over the phone from St. Croix. The move comes after months of back and forth between the Joint Board over meetings being held on St. Thomas instead of rotating between the two districts and a boycott from both sides over travel.
According to law, a Joint Board meeting needs only three members from each district in order for a quorum to be established, and with the three from St. Thomas-St. John over on St. Croix, the four left on St. Thomas appeared not to be needed Friday.
While Watlington said the remaining St. Thomas-St. John members could still participate, Joseph said she was also concerned that the boards’ bylaws prohibit teleconferencing, since members have complained in the past about not being able to identify the members when they are speaking.
“The law requires a quorum be present for a vote, which means at least three members of each district,” St. Croix District Chairman Adelbert Bryan said as arguing broke out on both sides. “We have three members right here from St. Thomas-St. John, so if you have a problem with the teleconference, we can still convene the Joint Board right here.”
Moses responded that she and Wells didn’t come over from St. John to not participate.
“We didn’t come all the way over for Bert Bryan to decide that we don’t count,” she said into the phone. “We count and we are going to make it clear here today. We are being excluded, we can’t hear nothing, and everything here is confusion.”
To make matters worse, the phone connection in the Elections System office on St. Thomas was not clear, which Moses said she has complained about several times in the past.
While Joseph continued to call for a point of order to address the rules about teleconferencing, Bryan tried to push the meeting forward with a motion to proceed that the members on St. Thomas said they couldn’t hear.
Moses said, “If you knew this was going to happen, everyone should have been over there on St. Croix.”
In the end, all members voted to move ahead with the meeting and after the vote was taken and the video conferencing system was pulled back up so both sides could see one another.
The Joint Board then voted to move into executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters.