Home News Local news RULES PANEL PASSES NOMINEES TO LEGISLATURE

RULES PANEL PASSES NOMINEES TO LEGISLATURE

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The Senate Rules Committee approved the nomination of Keithley R. Joseph for executive director of the Public Services Commission Wednesday and sent it on to the full Legislature along with those of four nominees for the V.I. Hospitals and Health Facilities Governing Board.
Horace T. Brooks, Beverly Chongasing, Natalie A. Thomas and Samuel W. Topp were approved to sit on the hospitals board from the St. Thomas-St. John District. The Rev. Lester A. White was approved for the St. Croix District. All face final confirmation by the full Senate.
In his testimony, Joseph said his goals for the PSC would include shortening complaint resolution time, establishing a Consumer Bill of Rights and working with the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department and other agencies to heighten consumer awareness.
During questioning by Sen. Adelbert M. Bryant, Joseph said he had a good relationship with all members of the PSC board.
The board currently consists of Alecia M. Wells from St. John, Patrick N. Williams and Luther Felix Renee of St. Croix, and three St. Thomas members whose terms have expired — Walter L. Challenger, who serves as chair, Desmond Maynard and Dora S. Hill. Commission members whose terms expire continue to serve until a successor is sworn in. The governor has not nominated anyone to replace the three. There is also a vacancy on the board for St. Croix.
In addition, two senators — Gregory Bennerson and Donald "Ducks" Cole — sit on the commission as non-voting members.
The committee approved Joseph by a 4-1 vote with Bryan dissenting and Sen. Judy Gomez absent.
All of the hospitals board nominees said semi-autonomy was a start at improving conditions at the hospitals, but that full autonomy is necessary and inevitable, according to a release from the Legislature.
The hospitals board members were all approved by a 5-1 vote.

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