Governor deJongh Names Leona Smith as St. John Administrator

St. John Administrator Leona Smith

After going almost an entire month without island leadership, St. John residents can now call Leona Smith Madam Administrator, Gov. John deJongh announced in a prepared statement issued on Tuesday evening, January 30.

Smith most recently headed the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs’ Cruz Bay office and serves as chairperson for the St. John Festival and Cultural Organization.

The new St. John Administrator brings her excellent communication and problem solving skills to her latest task.

Listening to Constituents
“The main thing with being an administrator is listening to your constituents,” said Smith. “You have to be able to take complaints and make sure those complaints are solved. You have to have a good listening ear and I’ve got it.”

“Productivity is also key and I am a very good problem solver,” the St. John Administrator added.

Forming partnerships between the private and public sectors is important in order for St. John to succeed in the future, according to Smith.

“It is very important to have a good rapport with the public, which I have,” she said. “The private sector and the public working together can solve a lot of the issues that we face here. Once we have the private and public sectors working together, we’ll make St. John shine.”

Relocating the Julius E. Sprauve School out of Cruz Bay and improving local infrastructure are two projects upon which Smith will be focusing her attention.

Relocating JESS
“One thing we have to work on is picking up the situation of relocating the school,” said the new administrator. “We have to sit down with the National Park Service again and work this out. I understand that they have located property to trade and we have to make this work out.”

Although  deJongh promised to have a city planner on board for the island of St. John within the first quarter of 2007, there has been no announcement about the position.

Improving Infrastructure
While Smith did not know when a planner would be on board, she agreed that the need for one is great.

“Hopefully we’ll have a planner very soon and we can get to work on all of the plans for improving our infrastructure,” said Smith. “We have to work on the vendor’s plaza and the parking situation in Cruz Bay. We also must work on the Cruz Bay Park — that is a mess.”

St. John residents should be able to handle basic government tasks without traveling to St. Thomas, Smith explained.

Expand Gov. Agencies
“We have to have more government agencies here on St. John,” said Smith. “We will need more government offices to make it more convenient for our residents. It really is a hassle to go all the way over to St. Thomas for basic needs like tax clearance letters.”

Smith previously worked for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and served as a researcher for the V.I. Legislature. The new administrator has a bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an associate’s degree from Elizabeth Seton College.

Smith has high hopes for her new position.

“I expect to make an outstanding contribution to this administration as the go-to person on St. John,” Smith said.