April 3, 2002 – Sen. Lorraine Berry has taken issue publicly with Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's unexplained firing of Amadeo Francis as Public Finance Authority director of finance and administration last December and the governor's announcement on March 22 of Kenneth Mapp as his successor.
"I have no problem with the governor giving Kenneth Mapp a job," Berry said Tuesday, "but I don't think he is the person for the PFA position. I think it is all politics, and I don't think Mapp's name will make any impact on the bond market."
On Monday, speaking on her weekly radio show, Berry referred to an editorial in the March 27 issue of The Avis "which raised some very prickly points, which trouble me greatly." She said the editorial wondered if there was truth to rumors that Mapp was given the job as a "political plum, as an incentive to bow out of the gubernatorial race, and also be of assistance" in the gubernatorial campaign on St. Croix.
Meanwhile, Mapp said on Wednesday that he will be paid $100 hourly, "exactly the same contract awarded to Amadeo Francis several years ago." Mapp said his contract is similar to those he has for consulting work in the private sector.
According to sources close to Government House, Francis is now being paid $200 an hour as a consultant, and Mapp was hired at $150 an hour.
Further, Mapp said, "I am paid only for the work I perform. I do not get paid for holidays or vacations, and I don't get government health insurance." He said he would make a copy of his contract available on Thursday.
Last November, Mapp, who was lieutenant governor in the one-term administration of Turnbull's predecessor, Roy L. Schneider, announced that he would run for governor this year. 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 has not said whom he will support for the November election.
Berry said her telephone has been "ringing off the hook" with queries about the situation. On her radio show, she said that "the governor has a dark cloud hanging over his head by permitting the scenario painted by the St. Croix Avis to stand unquestioned."
Both Turnbull and Berry are longtime stalwarts of the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands.
Berry said on Tuesday that taxpayers should be concerned, too.
In her radio commentary, she wondered why Francis, "a man of impeccable integrity, was unceremoniously dismissed by the governor" and noted that Francis's "services today are still being sought by the very same entity from which he was dismissed."
The PFA board, which Turnbull chairs by virtue of being governor, voted in February to bring Francis back as a "transitory adviser" to smooth the transition for what the board determined would be his two successors — separate individuals to handle the financial and administrative responsibilities. Calls to Francis were not returned Wednesday. He has not made any public comment about his dismissal by the governor or his rehiring by the board.
The PFA board vote to hire Mapp to succeed Francis as director of both finance and administration apparently was taken at a meeting at Government House on St. Thomas on March 21. The board has three public-sector and two private-sector members. One of the non-government members, St. Croix businessman Paul Arnold, said on March 22 that he was not at the meeting, nor was the other non-government member, St. Thomas accountant Roy D. Jackson.
Arnold said the board meeting, called for 10 a.m., had not started by nearly 1 p.m., when he had to leave to return to St. Croix. Arnold also said he had not been aware that naming Mapp to both PFA positions was on the agenda for the meeting.
A March 22 release from Government House stating that Turnbull had approved a contract between the PFA and Mapp said that Mapp's responsibilities will include "special concentration on the development of St. Croix" and that he "will advise the chairman 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."
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