From announcing key members of Government House staff to legislation that will soon be submitted to the Senate for approval, Governor-elect Kenneth Mapp laid all the pieces of the upcoming transition process on the table Friday and explained how they will all fit together over the next few weeks.
Mapp and running mate Osbert Potter made the announcements Friday at the WTJX Channel 12 studios on St. Thomas in their first live address since the November run-off election.
Mapp said the first part of the process is tasking transition team chairs, co-chairs and committee chairs with looking into each government department and agency and conducting a “true analysis and investigation into the processes and operations of the government of the Virgin Islands.”
No one is guaranteed a job at this point, he added, saying that he expects by 12 p.m. on Jan. 5 the resignations of all current commissioners, assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners. Announcements about cabinet members will be made publicly over the next few weeks, after the “deliberate process” of apprising each individual’s qualifications, ability to work well with others, and understanding of the new administration’s vision, is complete.
“We expect long hours, we expect serious work, we expect leadership and we will provide each person with the resources, authority and responsibility to do their jobs, but they will be held accountable,” Mapp said. In the meantime, a Mapp/Potter transition website (www.mapppottertransition.com) will allow residents to submit resumes for potential jobs; resumes can also be dropped off at transition offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix, or mailed in to P.O. Box 8118, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 00801.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis have put a team in place to head the transition from their end, and during a public meeting next week the two sides will meet and begin the “smooth shift from one government to the next,” Mapp said.
Potter has been tasked with leading the transition team. Tapped to lead the charge in each district are Juel R.T. Molloy on St. Thomas, Jose Penn on St. John and Franklin Johnson on St. Croix.
Also announced Friday was the immediate Mapp/Potter staff, including:
– Randolph “Randy” Knight: chief of staff
– Rochelle Corneiro: Deputy chief of staff and personal executive assistant
– Kimberly Jones: communications director
– Simon Jones-Hendrickson: chief economist and chief financial policy advisor
– Emile A. Henderson: chief legal counsel
– Juel R.T. Molloy and Franklin Johnson: senior policy advisors
Mapp said Johnson, who played a major role in the Mapp/Potter campaign, would be in charge of overseeing each island administrator, while Molloy, with her years of experience in government, would show the Mapp/Potter team exactly where they should begin “rebuilding.”
Mapp added that Henderson would also be key in developing bills that will be submitted to the Legislature once the new administration takes office, including bills to: reorganize government, reduce the number of government boards and commissions and reform the Elections System.
Speaking about the upcoming inaugural process, Mapp said he and Potter will again be turning to the community to raise funds for the various events held on all three islands. The Legislature has appropriated some money, but a little more is needed to make sure that everyone in the public can come, Mapp said. The honorary head of the inaugural committee will be Mapp’s mother, Vashti Mapp, along with Luz Luis (widow of the late Gov. Juan F. Luis), Sebastiano Paiewonsky Cassinelli and Barbara Schneider.
Once in office, Mapp said he and Potter will “work hard” to structure a “transparent and open” government that, among other things, plans to give the public access to all government contracts, along with a name, salary and title listing of all unclassified government employees. Work to smooth out issues — such as public safety needs — with private sector investors that can come into the territory, he said.
During the press conference, Potter also announced the chairs of each of the 14 transition committees:
– Agriculture, Fisheries and Marittime: Chair Carlos Robles, Vice Chair Eddie Schuster
– Boards and Commissions: Chair Randy Knight, Vice Chair Kimberly Jones
– Economic Development: Chair Simon Jones-Hendrickson, Vice Chair Adrianne Dudley
– Education: Chair Ludence Romney. Vice Chair Vaughn Hewitt
– Energy, Technology and E-Commerce: Chair Gustave James, Vice Chair Sebastiano Paiewonsky Cassinelli
– Finance and Administration: Chair Joanne Bozzuto, Vice Chair Marvin Pickering
– Inaugural Activities: Honorary Chair Vashti Mapp, Chair Luz Luis, Chair Sebastiano Paiewonsky Cassinelli, Co-Chair Barbara Schneider
– Government Operations: Chair Mona Barnes, Vice Chair Claudette Lewis
– Infrastructure and Transportation: Chair Gregory Schuster, Vice Chair Mustafa Abusaoud
– Instrumentalities: Chair Dwayne Howell, Vice Chair Louis DeLyrot
– Health and Human Services: Chair Sedonie Halbert, Vice Chair Dr. Cora Christian
– Housing and Parks: Chair Pedro Cruz, Vice Chair Kennard Calendar
– Law Enforcement: Chair David Magras, Vice Chair Soraya Diase Coffelt
– Personnel and Labor: Chair Milton Potter, Vice Chair Miguel Quinones Jr.