With the ever increasing number of requests for audits by the V. I. legislature and other bodies, Bill 30-0525 to reestablish the V.I. Inspector General as a semi-autonomous agency of the Government was held in committee pending proposed amendments. We are well into the 31 legislature and I believe that this critical bill should be re-introduced in committee and moved forward, as with Bill 31-0014 adding chapter 120.
In summary, unlike the law as it now stands, Bill 30-0525 provides for the budget of the Office of the V. I. Inspector General from an annual appropriation of one percent of the overall Budget of the Government, but not less than $3,000,000. The bill also requires that once the budget for the Office of the V. I. Inspector General has been appropriated, the funds must be allotted in 12 equal allotments over the fiscal year and is not subject to the Office of Management allotment control. The office would still be answerable to the Legislature whenever as requested and with the ability of the body to establish a line item budget.
Ironically if the bill had passed and became law by the 30 legislature, it would have gone into effect on October 1 funded appropriately however by the request of the governor and approved by the 31st legislature in Bill 31-0215, the office received $200,000.00 for the 2016 fiscal year or 2/3’rds of threshold balance as proposed in the 30-0014 Bill
If we expect this office to keep pace with the number of vital and important audits and recommendations from the office of VI inspector general then isn’t about time that we fully fund and maintain its operations without the threat of its funding being cut by OMB at the very minimum? Re-introduce 30-0525 members of the 31st legislature as soon as possible please and move 31-0014 forward in committee.
Jason Budsan, St. Thomas