May 28, 2009 — It was smooth sailing Thursday for Wayne L. Biggs Jr., whose nomination to head the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs drew shining accolades and a vote of support from all 15 senators during the full session.
The tone was set early by Sen. Michael Thurland, who said Biggs recently appeared before the Senate's Rules and Judiciary Committee armed with a thorough knowledge of his department and backed by the support of the DLCA employees. Before his confirmation Thursday Biggs had been DLCA's acting commissioner. He replaces Kenrick Robertson, who resigned earlier this year.
"This designee came with a resume that was good — very, very good," said Thurland, Rules Committee chairman. "And he spoke eloquently, with consistency, fairness and honesty. His professionalism, both in the public sector at the federal level and also at the government level, along with his standing as a community servant, spoke lengths as to the character of this individual."
Amid the hailstorm of praise, however, a strange theme emerged throughout the morning, with senators either warning Biggs to keep a tight hold on his integrity while in office, or stating emphatically that they know Biggs' prior job experience has shown him impervious to outside influence.
"I have known Mr. Biggs for a number of years, and I know that he is a man of great integrity, but I was most recently impressed because when he came to the Rules Committee hearing, he had a plan, and that is not something that's common," said Sen. Nereida Rivera-O'Reilly. "I recently saw in the newspaper a food basket, and it was comprehensive — not just potatoes and sugar and cereal. So, I know he's taking his role seriously. But Im going to appeal to him this morning not to take the road less traveled — to be expeditious. I know he won't let anybody pull his strings. I know that he will make us all proud and lead DLCA in the right direction."
Stepping into the well after the vote came down, Biggs assured senators there was no need for them to worry.
"Rest assured, when I do leave this position, I will leave with my integrity and character intact," Biggs said, thanking the governor, lieutenant governor and senators for their support.
For the most part, however, senators spent about an hour sharing their positive experiences with Bigg, whether in the workplace or on the ball field.
"Mr. Biggs and I have known each other since childhood, we went to university together and have maintained our friendship over the years," said Sen. Wayne James. "He has never once disappointed me in life or any professional capacity. I encourage wholeheartedly his confirmation and offer him congratulations in advance."
Sen. Usie R. Richards said Biggs' nomination afforded him a "rare" opportunity to keep his remarks short and sweet.
"I usually take a whole lot of time grilling, questioning nominees," Richards said. "Mr. Biggs really represented a very rare chance for me not to grill a nominee. I have had many experiences with Biggs, more so on professional level, and it's my opinion that the professional experiences that I've had with him far outweighs any need for me to be his friend."
Some senators could take a page out of Biggs' book, Richards added, saying, "What I admire of Mr. Biggs — irrespective of the question that you ask him, not only as a nominee but in his other capacities he usually takes time out to think before he speaks."
Words like integrity, professionalism and dedication aptly apply to Biggs, added Sen. Sammuel Sanes.
"It is a boost to the government to have you in this position," he said. "There was no question when it came up that you were recommended for this position — none at all."
Some senators even thanked Gov. John deJongh Jr. for nominating Biggs to the position.
"DLCA employees have come to me and said Mr. Biggs has already turned around the whole morale of the department," said Sen. Patrick Simeon Sprauve. "He moves with great emphasis, looking at what has to be done. You don't even have to look at his resume — it's impeccable. So I want to thank the governor for nominating Mr. Biggs — this is what you call bringing leadership to these positions."
Senators also approved a bill Thursday honoring and commending Alton A. Adams Jr. for his contributions to V.I. community.
All senators were present during Thursday's session.
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