ST. THOMAS – The Rules and Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Milton Potter, has proposed a series of appointments, including that of Bosede Bruce as head of the finance department.
Bruce, who was approved unanimously, said one of the goals set for the agency is to complete audits and process supplier payments on a timely basis. She said she wanted to create a 100% paperless environment, so that when you visit the department, “you don’t see a single piece of paper.”
Bruce, who has held the position for nearly two months, said she had met more than 80% of her staff, posted 10 job postings and used the available COVID-19 relief funds to purchase equipment to support the office work – dual screen and laptops for remote work.
She acknowledged the “very critical and prestigious” position of the post and said she would work in the public interest.
“The first achievable item is hiring more staff,” she said, adding that the department was lacking in staff, tools and training. Bruce also testified that due to low salaries morale within the agency is low. People who often enjoy their jobs leave for financial reasons, she said.
“I need essential staff and to be able to offer a competitive salary,” she said.
In response to Senate Speaker Donna Frett-Gregory, noting that the Finance Department is “challenged by timely audits,” Bruce said the agency is currently completing the 2019 audit, will begin the audit of 2020 in about a month and plans to approach 2021 by quarterly close, and in the future, month by month.
She also discussed balancing special funds that remain “out of balance for years” and streamlining checks and electronic fund disbursements.
In his opening remarks, Bruce said that “serving the people of VI is an honor” and brought tears to her eyes when she spoke of his supportive parents who were present during the testimony.
She said her family moved to St. John in 1974 and has been serving the community ever since. After spending time in Atlanta, Bruce returned to the Territory, where she obtained a Masters of Business Administration from the University of the Virgin Islands.
Senators also unanimously nominated Akil Petersen to the VI Historic Preservation Commission, Elizabeth Dumas and Brittany Dawson to the VI Board of Nurse Licensure and Dr. Chase Greep to the VI Board of Dental Examiners.
Senators applauded the energy of all the candidates and thanked them for stepping up their efforts to fill critical council positions.