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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 24, 2024


According to Sen. Lorraine Berry, newly appointed acting Internal Revenue Bureau director Louis Willis said Thursday that some former IRB employees who had quit while Claudette Farrington was director have expressed the desire to return now that she is gone.
Berry, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said a series of questions for IRB personnel that had been prepared for a Thursday Finance Committee meeting that was canceled were asked, nonetheless, at a different venue and with a different audience.
She and three other committee members met Thursday morning with Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, administration fiscal officers, the legislative post auditor, assorted government lawyers and Louis Willis, who on Wednesday was named acting IRB director. The session at Government House was closed to the news media.
The meeting, which Berry said lasted about an hour, was arranged Wednesday afternoon after Berry learned that Turnbull had removed Claudette Farrington as IRB director. The committee members agreed to cancel the scheduled Thursday meeting and instead meet privately with Turnbull and Willis, she said.
According to Berry, she had scheduled the Finance meeting and had subpoenaed Farrington and 19 IRB supervisors to testify in response to what she described as a great number of complaints reaching her office from within and without the IRB about the manner in which the bureau was functioning.
Among many issues discussed Thursday in a "give-and-take exchange," Berry said, Willis stated that former IRB employees have expressed a desire to return to the bureau because of the change in management. Reportedly 19 employees on St. Thomas and three on St.Croix left while Farrington was in charge.
The questions intended for the Senate committee hearing and discussed at Government House had been prepared by the legislative post auditor, Campbell Malone, who attended the meeting. The inquiries were extensive, looking into all aspects of IRB functions, Berry said.
One was whether the bureau's computer system, "the brain of the tax management system," according to Malone, was adequate and Y2K compliant – and if not, why not? Other queries covered personnel matters, tax collection, audit enforcement, delinquent accounts and processing of tax returns.
Berry said Willis agreed to submit written responses to all of the committee's questions to her office by noon on July 14. Then, she said, the committee will caucus and determine its next move.
Attending the meeting along with Turnbull, Berry, Willis and Malone were Senate Finance Committee members Gregory Bennerson, Violet Anne Golden and George Goodwin; the governor's chief fiscal aides, Rudolph Krigger Sr. and Paulette Rabsatt; and lawyers for all three entities – Constance Krigger, Legislature chief legal counsel; Elmo Adams, counsel to the governor; and Tamara Parsons-Smalls and Gizette Canegata, IRB associate counsels.

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