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Five Cabinet Members Sworn in at St. Croix Ceremony

May 7, 2007 — Pomp and ceremony were the order of the day Monday at a swearing-in ceremony for five of Gov. John deJongh Jr.’s cabinet members: Victor Browne, Albert Bryan, Christopher Finch, Jessica Gallivan and Kenrick Robertson.
Honor-roll students in blue shirts directed the arriving crowd of well-dressed well-wishers coming to witness the ritual at St. Croix Educational Complex. The school's marching concert band struck up a march as the new commissioners and governmental dignitaries filed onto the auditorium stage. The Central High School ROTC Color Guard marched in with the U.S. and Virgin Islands flag and the traditional formalities began.
Darryl Donahue, presiding judge of the V.I. Superior Court, led the new cabinet members in their oath of office, after which the five new officers were introduced in turn and each said a few words. DeJongh spoke last, wishing his new charges well.
“To everyone out there who still has my cell phone number: Lose it and call these fellows,” deJongh joked, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
Fire Services Director Victor Browne is a Certified Public Accountant who cut his teeth at Merrill Lynch in the early '80s and a former St. Croix math teacher. Browne has no fire-service background, making him an unconventional choice for director of Fire Services. His most recent prior position was fiscal officer for the St. Croix Foundation. Master of Ceremonies Pedro Encarnacion, who was himself a career firefighter before going into politics, said Browne was chosen for his experience and proven ability as a manager.
Commissioner of Labor Albert Bryan Jr. worked in management at Innovative Communications until his nomination for Labor Commissioner. Born on St. Thomas, he has lived on St. Croix for a number of years. He is also well known for his work with the progressive community organization Generation NOW, which he helped found in 2002. Prior to that, he held positions at Hovensa and at the V.I. Housing Authority.
The formal qualifications of Commissioners of Human Services Chris Finch include a B.A. in social work from the University of Texas and an M.A. in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Finch has lived in the Virgin Islands since 1978 and raised his family here. He has worked as a foster care and social worker for the Department of Social Welfare, the predecessor to Human Services. Finch went to Lutheran Social Services to run a crisis hotline and ultimately progressed to the position of executive director, a position he has held for the past 15 years for a total of 23 years with LSS.
Chief Labor Negotiator Jessica Gallivan grew up on St. Croix and graduated from St. Croix Central High. She completed a masters of business administration at the University of the Virgin Islands in 1992. After that, Gallivan went to law school at Southern Methodist University School of Law in Texas, joining the Texas Bar, then she returned to St. Croix, joining the V.I. Bar Association. From 1998 to 2004, Gallivan was an attorney with the Office of Collective Bargaining, where she prevailed in 92 percent of cases and saw the caseload drop from 600 to 300. In the past Gallivan has represented the United Steel Workers Union against management, meaning she has worked on both sides of the management-labor divide.
Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Kenrick Robertson is an attorney by trade, although in addition to his J.D. he holds a bachelor of arts in economics and a master of business administration. Robertson has held several prior government posts. Most recently, he was the staff attorney at Legal Services of the Virgin Islands. Before that he was director of renovation at the Health Department.
All five of the new cabinet members were confirmed unanimously by the Legislature.
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