The Senate Committee on Rules Monday approved nine board and commission nominations sent down by Gov. Charles Turnbull.
While the nominations of Lloyd McAlpin, Casino Control Commission; Gerard Luz James and Alphonso Franklin, V.I. Water and Power Authority; and Susan Andrews, 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 only two members, chairwoman Eileen Petersen and Imelda Dizon, since Dennis Brow’s term ended in July.
Since that time, the commission has been able to carry out administrative tasks only, because it lacks a quorum.
McAlpin, currently 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 other supporters 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.
Dr. Olaf Hendricks, director of the Department of Health’s Mental Health Unit, said he was opposed to 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, had earned the opportunity.
McAlpin was approved on a 6-0 vote.
Andrews’s nomination as deputy inspector-general will be the first and last for the position. The recently approved Omnibus Act contains legislation that allows the job to be filled by the sitting inspector general without having to go through the nomination process.
Andrews, too, 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 the auditor general in the Marshall Islands, a former U.S. territory.
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," she said.
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 were forwarded to the full Senate with favorable recommendations. Five others were named to the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital Board.


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