The Senate Rules Committee on Monday approved four important board and commission nominations sent down by Gov. Charles Turnbull.
While the nominations of Lloyd McAlpin to the Casino Control Commission, Gerard Luz James Sr. and Alphonso Franklin to the V.I. Water and Power Authority and Susan Andrews as deputy inspector general still must be approved by the full Senate, each nominee cleared the Rules Committee without opposition.
The most crucial nomination is the $80,000-a-year Casino Control Commission membership that McAlpin is up for. The five-member board has been operating with just Chairwoman Eileen Petersen and Imelda Dizon since Dennis Brow’s term ended in July. Since that time the commission has only been able to carry out administrative tasks because it lacks a quorum.
McAlpin, now the executive director of the Legislature, received high marks from committee members and a quartet of supporters who testified in favor of his nomination. Although several senators and supporters of McAlpin said they weren’t in favor of casino gaming in the territory, they said they would support the nominee because of his experience and character.
McAlpin supporter Dr. Olaf Hendricks, director of the Department of Health’s Mental Health Unit, said he doesn’t support casino gaming because it could adversely affect people with gambling habits. Still, he said McAlpin, who has more than 25 years of public service under his belt, earned the opportunity.
McAlpin was approved on a 6-0 vote.
Meanwhile, Andrews’ nomination as deputy inspector general will be the first and last for the position. The recently approved Omnibus Act contains legislation that allows the position to be filled by the sitting inspector general without having to go through the nomination process. She was approved unanimously.
Prior to her arrival in the territory, Andrews worked as an auditor and in human resources for ITT in Puerto Rico. She also served as auditor general in the Marshall Islands, a former U.S. territory.
When asked by senators about the financial similarities between the V.I. and the Marshall Islands governments, Andrews was frank: "There is a prevalent occurrence of fraud throughout the government."
Andrews said that by filling the deputy inspector general position, the IG’s office would be better able to investigate fraud, waste and abuse within government. Also within the Omnibus Act is legislation that gives the IG’s office authority to conduct investigations, which it has not been able to do in the past.
In the near future, Andrews said, the IG’s office plans to look into the Industrial Development Commission to determine exactly what the government is gaining from the program. Another possible examination may be the Hotel Occupancy Tax and how it could generate more revenue for the government.
In other Rules Committee action, the nominations of Gerard Luz James Sr. and Alphonso Franklin to the WAPA board of governors were forwarded to the full Senate with favorable recommendations.


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