Home News Local news Gov. DeJongh Nominates Three More Department Heads

Gov. DeJongh Nominates Three More Department Heads


Feb. 6, 2007 — Gov. John deJongh Jr. on Tuesday nominated commissioners for three departments: Agriculture, Property and Procurement, and Planning and Natural Resources, according to a Government House press release.
Named to lead Property and Procurement is Acting Commissioner Lynn A. Millin, who previously served as the agency’s general counsel. Selected for Commissioner of Agriculture is Dr. Louis “Akil” Petersen, while Robert Mathes has been chosen to lead Planning and Natural Resources.
DeJongh said Tuesday that Millin brings a unique perspective to the administration, given her legal experience and previous service in the department. She has spent the past 11 years working in the Virgin Islands in various management and legal capacities.
Millin is well-versed in contract law, as well as lease agreements and the internal policies and procedures of the department. “Attorney Millin is fully aware of the changes that we need to institute to improve the efficiency and productivity of the department in its relations with the various departments and agencies and in the issuances of requests for goods and services. With the leadership of attorney Millin, we will ensure that government funds are spent wisely and in a manner that ensures our small businesses have access opportunities.”
Property and Procurement is comprised of five divisions with oversight of procurement, property, central motor pool, printing office and central stores.
Prior to her employment with the department, Millin was a law clerk for both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Boston, Mass., and the V.I. Territorial Court. Millin was named acting commissioner on Jan. 1.
As commissioner of Agriculture, Louis E. Petersen Jr. will bring a wealth of agricultural experience to the administration, including project management, fund-raising, issue awareness, and program creation, deJongh said.
Petersen, a former assistant commissioner of Agriculture, has a long list of accomplishments associated with the V.I. agriculture and is currently supervisor for UVI's Cooperative Extension Service.
He is also currently a member of the School to Work Career Council, offering recommendations to various government departments.
As a member of the advisory council to the V.I. Forestry Stewardship Program and as state coordinator for the sustainable agriculture program at UVI, Petersen reviews grant applications and coordinates educational activities for farmers and agricultural professionals throughout the territory.
Petersen is also currently serving as president of the V.I. Resource Conservation and Development Council, where he coordinates funding initiatives through local, regional, and national entities to benefit the Virgin Islands. As vice chairman of the State Executive Committee on Reinventing Agricultural Education, Petersen advocates for the inclusion of agriculture courses in the public school curriculum.
Past accomplishments include increasing funding for the St. Thomas/St. John Agriculture Food Fair and boosting agricultural opportunities and education.
“It is my belief that Dr. Petersen will take the lead for making sure we realize and maximize the potential of agriculture in our community — both for internal consumption but also as a linkage to the tourism industry to ensure sustainability. His practical and academic experiences provide the proper blend to build the cases for funding and programs that will ensure that this sector realizes the opportunities that for so long escaped our grasp,” deJongh said today.
The Department of Agriculture is comprised of eight divisions including: administration, marketing, agricultural development, horticulture, heavy equipment, buildings and grounds maintenance, forestry water and soil conservation, abattoir and veterinary health.
Petersen graduated from Tuskegee University with a concentration in plant science with the Department of Plant and Soil Science and earned a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University with the Department of Horticulture. Petersen also earned a doctorate from the University of Minnesota with the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
At the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, de Jongh selected Robert Mathes as commissioner. Mathes brings a distinguished record of planning and management experience to the deJongh administration, including government public service and private consulting.
Mathes is most recently co-owner of Mathes Management and Marian G. Mathes & Associates insurance agency consultants, as well as a consultant for Planning Associates. Utilizing his extensive government experience, Mathes has had a consistent involvement in residential and commercial site inspections, as well as government planning in the Virgin Islands. Mathes was recognized for his work as the St. Thomas District Chair for the V.I. Board of Elections and served on the Coastal Zone Management Commission for St. Thomas.
As director of the V.I. Capital Improvement Program, under the Office of the Governor in the Farrelly administration, Mathes managed a $300 million public facilities construction program in the aftermath of hurricane Hugo and coordinated the rebuilding of four territorial hospitals and clinics.
Mathes also served as commissioner of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and was an active board member of V.I. Water & Power Authority. Additionally, Mathes served as director of planning & development at the Department of Public Works, where he managed all grant projects for the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, Department of Interior and Army Corps of Engineers.
“Bob Mathes brings the experience the department needs, especially as our focal point for economic development and environmental protection. His prior government service in areas that are represented in the department, coupled with his private-sector background, brings the appropriate blend that is needed to ensure not only that leadership is provided but the appropriate blend of oversight is provided to achieve multiple objectives,” deJongh said.
The department has 11 divisions including building permits, business administrative services, capital and development planning, coastal zone management, comprehensive and coastal zone planning, energy office, environmental enforcement, environmental protection, fish and wildlife, State Historic Preservation Office and libraries and archives.
Mathes is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where he also took courses in graduate studies for Urban and Regional Planning.
The three nominees must be approved by the 27th Legislature. The nominations were submitted Tuesday to the Senate Rules Committee, the first committee to consider the Government House appointees.
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