Sept. 24, 2004 – A Senate Government Operations Committee meeting scheduled for Friday to take testimony on the Government Procurement Act of 2003 has been canceled.
In a release issued Thursday, Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone, Government Operations Committee chairman, said the meeting was canceled because "the primary sponsor of the bill – Sen. Lorraine Berry – requested to have the bill removed from the agenda."
Berry, in a letter to Malone, said the Legislature's Chief Legal Counsel Yvonne Tharpes had advised her to remove the bill from the agenda because it had not been "properly drafted" and an in-depth comparative analysis was still needed.
"This advice is well-taken regarding the legislation, which has long required updating and has a major effect on the government's procurement policies and procedures," Berry said.
The committee was also planning to investigate the governor's proposed amendment to the procurement law, which he withdrew after strong objections from the Legislature.
Gov. Charles Turnbull's measure would have granted the Property and Procurement commissioner – currently Marc Biggs – the authority to endorse contracts entered into illegally once he deemed it was in the "best interest" of the territory.
Members of the Senate Minority wanted to find out how many illegal contracts had been executed and what amount is owed because of those contracts. Minority Leader Sen. Usie Richards had requested a hearing by the Finance Committeee, but its chair, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, referred the matter to the Government Operations Committee. (See "Fallout Continues Despite Procurement Bill Withdrawal").
Malone said, "Copies of documents forwarded to my office by the acting Attorney General and the Property and Procurement commissioner are available in my office for review by the public. I am inviting all interested to contact my office at 693-3529 to view and/or obtain copies."
Marc Biggs, commissioner, Property and Procurement Department; Horace Graham, chief of Procurement and Contracts, Property and Procurement Department; Lynn Millin, legal counsel, Property and Procurement Department; Alva Swan, acting V.I. attorney general, Justice Department; Iver A.Stridiron, former Attorney General, Justice Department; Bernice Turnbull, commissioner, Finance Department; Noreen Michael, commissioner; Education Department; Steven G. Van Beverhoudt, inspector general, V.I. Bureau of Audit and Control; and Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, president; League of Women Voters; were all invited to testify at Friday's hearing.
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