The Virgin Island Public Services Commission voted Thursday to censure commission member Johann Clendenin, reprimanding him for allegedly “demeaning, insulting, disruptive and disrespectful behavior.”
Commissioner David Hughes cited five reasons within the motion that was read aloud during Thursday’s meeting and ultimately approved by the PSC. The vote suspended Clendenin indefinitely from representing the PSC in any third-party organizations, stripped him of the use of the title of commissioner, unable to use correspondence displaying PSC letterhead and required the PSC executive director to request that the governor remove Clendenin from the Commission.
Voting in favor of the censure were Commissioners Raymond Williams Jr., Hughes and Andrew Rutnik. Commissioner Kent Bernier Sr. abstained.
The motion accuses Clendenin of:
– Creating and possessing counterfeit official letterhead “for purposes of improperly conveying the authenticity and authority of the full Commission,”
– Creating and using an unauthorized title that he does not hold within the Commission and
– Public slander of the PSC and its members.
In a letter of dissent, Clendenin disputed the accusations.
“My personal presentations and use of PSC letterhead clearly indicated they were the views of a sole commissioner and never conveyed the statement that my views were the majority view of the Commission unless expressly stated,” Clendenin said.
He said there is clearly personal feelings being expressed on behalf of the PSC.
“The issue of slander presumes for a public figure at least an inaccuracy. During the deliberation at no time were any facts or documentation of allegations presented for the record.”
Clendenin said the commission was deliberately seeking to restrict his national and local telecommunications roles, which he considered “vindictive and contrary to the interests of our community.”
In a statement issued in May, Clendenin dissented from a PSC decision on April 25.
“Though I am sympathetic to the dire situation WAPA faces, the facts remain that WAPA is failing to ensure reliable and resilient energy to the territory and has proven that they do not always act in good faith to conditions imposed by this commission.”
His statement airs his grievances about WAPA but focuses on the PSC saying: “The majority’s decision treats this applicant’s operations as if they had been efficient and not the subject of what appears to be considerable managerial indiscretion and extravagance set out in the record. Given that I am a regulator driven through mandate to reach reasoned and just decisions based on the demonstrated record presented in our public hearings, the majority decision does not allow me to remain silent.”
In his 2,300 word dissent Clendenin points the finger at the PSC, which he said has found itself in “a jurisdictional puzzle” and “only reinforces the fundamental mistake that the Commission made in rushing to dictate a particular outcome in WAPA rates,” possibly the language the Commission referred to in the motion of censure. In that piece, he also designated himself “chairman emeritus.”
The decision on whether to remove him from the Commission rests with the governor. Clendenin said he trusts he will be afforded due process.