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Committee Focusing on Procurement Controversy

Sept. 17, 2004 – Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone has invited a wide array of testifiers for his Government Operations Committee meeting Friday, Sept. 24.
The meeting was initially called to discuss a Senate property and procurement reform bill long in the making.
However, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull proposed and rescinded procurement legislation last week and that has prompted Malone to change the meeting agenda. The scope of the meeting will now include an investigation of past procurement procedures. Turnbull's proposal raised controversy and led to the demise of Iver Stridiron as attorney general.
Malone, chairman of the committee, wrote acting Attorney General Alva Swan Thursday, asking him to testify and to bring specific documents related to the governor's proposed legislation.
Malone said Wednesday he also would invite Marc Biggs, Property and Procurement commissioner; Rosalie Ballentine, former attorney general and current president of the League of Women Voters, and Stridiron.
"Alva Swan can't speak on Stridiron's behalf," Malone said. "So I want to hear from Stridiron, himself."
In a Thursday release, Malone said he was also inviting Noreen Michael, Education commissioner, and an unnamed "representative from Government House."
According to information released Friday, he will also invite Bernice Turnbull, Finance commissioner, and Inspector General Steven G. van Beverhoudt, V.I. Bureau of Audit and Control.
Malone said the committee is asking Swan to bring:
– All correspondence and proposed bills on government procurement issues transmitted to the governor by former Attorney General Iver Stridiron.
– All contracts between the Education Department and mainland vendors who are housing mentally and physically disabled children.
– All correspondence which was sent to Michael and to Government House relating to the impending lawsuit in the U. S. District Court in North Dakota against the V.I. government for unpaid bills to the Annie Carlson Center for Children.
– All purchase orders and contracts that were intended to be ratified and affirmed by the Property and Procurement commissioner retroactive to January 2003 for payment, as submitted in violation of the Virgin Island's procurement procedures, as indicated by the receipt of the governor's proposal to the Senate president's office on Sept. 3, 2004, and then withdrawn on Sept. 9.
Malone said in the Thursday release, "This information is not being requested solely to exercise my oversight authority, but to try to understand why this amendment was crafted in the first place. It is extremely important to figure out how these vendors, especially the Annie Carlson Center for Children, can be paid."
He said each of the contracts must be examined on a "case-by-case" basis, to "determine whether they should be ratified or affirmed since they did not go through the procurement procedures as provided by law."
Malone did not return calls Friday for clarification of the inventory he has requested from Swan.
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