Board of Elections has yet to set 2014 election schedule

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ST. CROIX - The Virgin Islands Joint Board of Elections met for its regular meeting Friday but failed to complete more than half of its planned agenda.

The meeting at The Virgin Islands Cardiac Center went into executive session shortly after being called to order to discuss personnel matters, sensitive employee issues and the salaries of the two newly hired deputy supervisors.

Coming out of the session Chairwoman Alicia Wells said that no votes were taken and no motions were made and the session only included discussion on the varying issues.

On the heels of their discussions, St. Croix board chairman Adelbert Bryan made a motion for the board to pay Genevieve Whitaker on St. Croix and Nefrediezha Barbel on St. Thomas salaries of $80,000 a year, effective from their acceptance dates of Oct. 21.

The motion was seconded, but failed for a lack of support.

There has been some discrepancies that remain to be clarified between the two deputies and the board about the amount of money that was offered when they accepted the positions last fall. Both deputy supervisors have been disputing their $65,000 salaries.

The board voted in favor of a motion from St. Croix member Lisa Harris Moorhead, who moved that the deputies and Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes meet within two weeks to discuss the deputy supervisors' job specifications and duties and that Fawkes report back to the board within a month to give guidance about the salaries.

The joint board also discussed the revised 2014 Election Calendar, which board members agreed still needs to be changed, because some of the dates are not in accordance with the timing that is required by law.

Moorhead said the Legislature should have voted on the revised calendar by Feb. 2 but has not done so, and at least one date needs to be changed.

"The Legislature is not supposed to make any changes on anything short of six moths before any elections, and I have a concern and we need to find out what they are going to do," she said.

The board also needs to discuss current law mandating the political parties to fund their own primary elections. According to Moorhead, there is talk of reversing that law, which would put Elections System in a position in which they would need to request funding to do so.

Bryan said the local law is clear and says that each political party is responsible for the cost.

"Let the legislature do what they want, we already had Mrs. Fawkes write them and at this point we need to get the attorney general involved," he said.

The board also discussed the possibility of adopting a candidate information sheet and adding changes as suggested by the V.I. Attorney General's Office to be used as a questionnaire for candidates. However, that motion, which was brought by Bryan, failed for lack of support.

The joint board lost its quorum just before 2 p.m., with only Wells and Lydia Hendricks left from the St. Thomas-St. John District when the other board members, Claudette Geroges and Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, left to catch flights back to St. Thomas.

The quorum was lost just as Rupert Ross Jr. began to discuss a long-standing issue to pay attorney Scott McChain for defending board members who were plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit brought by V.I. Action Group.

Lawrence Boschulte, Harry Daniels and Arturo Watlington Jr. from St. Thomas were absent from the meeting.

The next scheduled meeting of the joint board is 10 a.m. April 25 on St. Thomas.

- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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