July 27, 2004 – Casino Control Commission members one by one on Tuesday expressed sadness at the impending departure of their executive director, Shawna Richards, who was attending her last scheduled meeting with the commission. She is moving to Washington, D.C.
Commission members were not the only ones expressing disappointment at the news of her departure. Media representatives said that because of Richards, the Casino Control Commission was one area of the government where they could expect timely responses to their requests for information.
Attorneys even got into the act. Todd Newman, who represents Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino, said he hopes the commission can find a replacement who will be even "half as good as Richards at doing her job." And attorney R. Oliver David, director of the commission's Gaming Enforcement Division, said "it was always a pleasure working with Shawna."
Eileen Petersen, commission chair, also praised Richards' work, saying she is destined for greatness. Petersen said she envisions Richards becoming a "voting member of Congress or even becoming a U.S. senator."
Commission member Lloyd McAlpin said he recognized Richards' talent about eight years ago when they both worked in the Labor Department. He said she was exceptional in making a project happen.
When Petersen said "Thank you, thank you, thank you" to Richards, a round of spirited applause ran through the meeting room at the commission headquarters in Orange Grove.
Richards, the Casino Control Commission's only executive director, was hired a couple of months after the regulatory agency came into existence in 1996.
She told The Source she is going to Washington, D.C., to look for new opportunities. Her last day on the job is Aug. 6.
Richards received her bachelor's degree from Hampton University in Virginia and her master's from Emerson College in Boston. From 1991 until becoming the commission's executive director she worked at the Labor Department. Her family is from Frederiksted.
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