Two V.I. executives with long-term relationship to the agencies they led lost their jobs this week.
Steven Aubin, chief operating office for the V.I. Waste Management Authority since 2007, was placed on administrative leave, but will not be returning to the agency, according to sources close to the situation.
The authority is under a consent decree, which Aubin was and long had been critically involved with satisfying.
And, as expected, the board of directors of West Indian Co. Ltd. decided at a board meeting held in Miami where there were attending the 2017 Seatrade convention not to renew WICO President Joseph Boshulte’s contract, which expires April 30.
Aubin stepped in at VIWMA when former Chief Operating Officer May Cornwall retired and acted as interim chief executive officer until Roger Merrit was hired to replace Cornwall. Aubin is an engineer with strong solid waste background.
Boschulte replaced former WICO President Edward Thomas in May 2012. Thomas had held the post for 17 years before he retired.
These dismissals follow closely on the heels of the abrupt dismissal of Gov. Kenneth Mapp’s communications director, Cherie Munchez, last Friday.
As reported at that time, the Mapp administration has seen an unusual and steady toppling of upper and mid-level executives who have served the Virgin Islands for many years, and some who have not. In fact, several that have been let go were Mapp appointees.
In February, Mapp replaced Commissioner of Human Services Anita Roberts after she faced criticism for abruptly moving some residents of St. Thomas’s Sea View Nursing Home without coordinating with families and other agencies. Mapp appointed Felicia Blyden, a career Human Services employee, in her place.
Also in February, Mapp fired Property and Procurement Commissioner Randolph Bennett, without explanation, replacing him with Lloyd Bough Jr., who has served as chief of procurement contracts at the department since 2007.
In October 2016, Mapp’s chief of staff, Randy Knight, abruptly resigned with no public explanation.
Attorney General Claude Walker is the fourth person to serve as attorney general since January 2015 when Mapp took office. Walker took office in August 2015.
While not under the governor’s direct authority, the territory has also seen the heads of the V.I. Water and Power Authority and the V.I. Port Authority dismissed by board members aligned with Mapp. In December 2016, three Mapp cabinet members and a cousin of Mapp’s voted to get rid of VIPA Executive Director Carlton “Ital” Dowe, putting the governor’s brother, David Mapp, in the position until a new director is hired by the board. No permanent replacement has been selected to date and David Mapp continues to serve.
In January, three Mapp cabinet members and a member of Mapp’s transition team voted to fire WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr.