March 22, 2002 – Gov. Charles W. Turnbull announced Friday afternoon that he has approved the contracting of former senator and lieutenant governor Kenneth Mapp as director of finance and administration for the Public Finance Authority.
The news came as a surprise to at least one of the four other members of the PFA board.
It also contradicted action taken by the board on Feb. 28.
At that February meeting, the board voted to hire two individuals to replace Amadeo I.D. Francis, who had served as director of administration and finance from January 1995 until last Dec. 31. The governor fired Francis in December, giving no reason for the termination.
The board voted to divide the duties and hire a director of finance and a separate director of administration. And at that same February meeting, the board voted to bring Francis back as a "transitory adviser" to smooth the transition for his successors.
PFA board member Paul Arnold, who was in Florida on business Friday, said in a telephone interview that he "did not know that naming Mr. Mapp to both positions was on the agenda" for the Thursday meeting. "I was surprised when I heard he was named to both positions," he added.
Arnold, a St. Croix businessman who is one of the two private-sector members of the board, was in the territory on Thursday and fully intended to attend the board meeting.
It was scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday in the Office of the Governor on St. Thomas, and Arnold was there at the appointed time. "I sat and waited two and a half hours for the meeting to start," he said Friday night. "I had to get back to St. Croix, and I left Government House at about 12:30 or 20 minutes to 1."
He said had sat waiting in the company of Sen. Adelbert Bryan, who also wanted to attend the meeting..
According to Arnold, the other private-sector PFA board member, St. Thomas accountant Roy D. Jackson, also was not at the meeting. "I can only assume that the three government board members were in attendance," he said.
Rumors had been rampant before the February board meeting that Mapp would be named to succeed Francis.
Last November, Mapp announced his candidacy for this year's race for governor; although he is a Republican, he was expected to run as an independent. On Feb. 9, he announced that he had dropped out of the race, saying, "Now is not my time." He gave no indication of who he would support for the November election.
At the February meeting, the PFA board asked Turnbull to recommend candidates for the two new staff positions. It stipulated in approving the two positions that the combined salaries not exceed the total salary paid to Francis.
According to sources close to Government House, Francis is now being paid $200 an hour as a consultant, and Mapp is to get $150 an hour.
The PFA board consists of five members who serve four-year terms. Three are public-sector officials — the governor, the Finance commissioner and the director of the Office of Management and Budget — with the governor designated as chair. The other two members must non-government employees knowledgeable about "municipal" finance. Since 1993, the private-sector members have been Jackson from the St. Thomas-St. John district and Arnold from St. Croix.
Friday's Government House release stated that Turnbull "has approved a contract" between the PFA and Mapp and that Mapp's responsibilities will include "special concentration on the development of St. Croix." In addition, "he will advise the chairman [Turnbull] on financial investments, assist in the general administration and operation of the PFA and monitor the many projects already under the PFA including the King's Alley project on St. Croix."
Last year, the PFA foreclosed on the lease of the downtown Christiansted hotel and retail complex held by Development Consultants Inc. after the company failed to meet financial obligations. The PFA had provided financing for the properties, which include the 23-room King's Alley Hotel.
The PFA formed a holding company to renovate the property and then put it on the market. In August, Francis told the Senate Finance Committee that the PFA had contracted Rudolph Krigger Sr., recently retired as the governor's fiscal policy and economic affairs adviser, at $100 an hour to oversee the project.
Mapp, who served in the Legislature in the 1980s, was lieutenant governor in the Roy L. Schneider administration. The two feuded openly, and Schneider dumped him from the ticket to run for a second term — unsuccessfully, losing to Turnbull four years ago. Since then, according to Mapp, he has received his master's degree in public administration from Harvard University.
He also has served as Licensing commissioner and assistant director of the old Industrial Development Commission and "worked in the private sector for several years," according to the Friday Government House release.
The release also said Turnbull "thanked Amadeo I.D. Francis for his willingness to serve the PFA in an advisory capacity during this transitional period."

Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here