St. Croix Elections Board calls for Weber's firing
Published: January 11, 2013
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ST. CROIX - The St. Croix Board of Elections met in executive session Thursday afternoon and voted to recommend termination for Deputy Supervisor of Elections James Weber III.
Board chairman Rupert Ross Jr. said the board voted to pass a motion to recommend to the Joint Board of Elections that they conduct an investigation on the status of Weber's job performance, and included in the motion was a recommendation from the board that he be terminated.
Ross said he would not get specific about any of the issues, but it was primarily based on Weber's performance and reports from Supervisor of Elections John Abramson Jr.
"It has to go before the joint board now for them to do the investigation," he said. "That will be done when the new joint board is established," he said.
Ross, along with board members Ana Davila, Carmen Golden and Lisa Harris Moorhead voted in favor of the motion. Raymond Williams and Adelbert Bryan voted against. Board member Dodson James was absent from Thursday's special meeting, which was called for the sole purpose of discussing personnel issues, Ross said before the meeting.
When contacted Thursday, Weber said the call from The Daily News was the first information he had gotten that the board had taken such an action.
Weber was in the Elections Office while the board met Thursday afternoon, but he said nothing was said to him.
"I had no idea that they were even meeting to discuss me," he said.
Weber said he has had no discussion with Abramson or the board and has no idea what they could be dissatisfied about regarding his job performance.
"My duties as the deputy supervisor are to conduct the elections on St. Croix and to manage the budget," he said. "We had a clean election, and we were commended by OMB for using just 97 percent of the budget."
When asked Thursday about the St. Croix board calling for Weber's termination, Abramson said he did not know anything about it and had no knowledge of any decision that the board had made relative to Weber.
Weber said he is flabbergasted that the board would make such a decision when the board, as a unit, would not exist in less than 24 hours. The newly elected Board of Elections members are being sworn-in today.
"I would have loved to at least have some sort of due process," he said. "This is the stamp that they want to leave?"
Just one month after the board voted to appoint Abramson to another 8-year term in August 2011, the board appointed Weber to the deputy position to replace Corinne Plaskett, who retired.
After initially voting down the nomination from the Joint Board Selection Committee, the motion was reconsidered, and the board approved Weber as the new deputy supervisor.
In September, Abramson tried to fire his St. Thomas-St. John deputy, Mabel Maduro, but last month, the Joint Board of Elections blocked Abramson's action and ordered him to apologize to her.
At that joint board meeting, Ross, who also is the chairman of the joint board, presented a letter dated Nov. 8 from Abramson in which Abramson rescinded his earlier letter recommending Maduro's termination, even though Abramson stuck by the first letter's content, which called her a "serious liability" as the primary and General Elections approached. He cited specific examples to back up his dissatisfaction with Maduro's job performance, including mistakes on the ballot; the unavailability of absentee ballots; the presence of an ICM logo on a Democratic Primary ballot; and an instruction to staff to register voters after the registration period was closed by law.
Maduro was suspended for 30 days pending the joint board's decision, and in mid-September, the St. Thomas-St. John Board voted 4-3 on a motion by board member Claudette Georges to challenge Abramson's decision.
Members starting new terms on the St. Croix District board are Moorhead, a current member of the board who was re-elected; and newly elected members Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal, Roland Moolenaar and Glenn Webster. Belardo de O'Neal, Moolenaar and Webster will be replacing Davila, Golden and James, who did not run for re-election.
Other current board members who will be part of the new board are Ross, Williams and Bryan. Their seats were not up for election during the 2012 elections.
Newly elected St. Thomas board members Lydia Hendricks and Arturo Watlington along with re-elected members Lawrence Boschulte and Alicia Wells also will be sworn-in today in Superior Court on St. Thomas, Ross said.
- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.