Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has named former Sen. Allison DeGazon director of the Economic Research Division.
DeGazon, who served as a member of the 33rd Legislature and was not re-elected to a second term, will earn a salary of $95,000, according to Government House Communications Director Richard Motta Jr. — a $10,000 increase over her pay as a senator.
Rumors of the hiring have been circulating for days, and some senators grilled Economic Research Bureau Senior Policy Analyst Donnie Dorsett for information during a hearing Tuesday. Dorsett said he had not heard any official news.
Government House directed questions from The Daily News to the Office of Management and Budget.
“To my knowledge, there has not been an appointment of a director for the Bureau of Economic Research,” OMB Director Jenifer O’Neal said in an email Tuesday, when The Daily News originally sought confirmation.
On Friday, Motta clarified that “OMB is under the Office of the Governor and the then-Bureau of Economic Research was under OMB, until it was changed to the Division of Economic Research and placed directly under the office of the governor in the last session of the 33rd Legislature.”
The Daily News asked whether there had been other candidates for the position, and Motta said that “others were considered. However, I am not privy to their information.”
The statement described the division as the agency that “provides reliable and quality statistics to enhance the social and economic development of U.S. Virgin Islands through statistical analysis and reports in support of public-sector and private-sector decision-making.”
DeGazon’s experience, according to the statement, includes being “a member of a number of economic research groups in the Caribbean, United States and Canada, and she is a representative of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Agri-Economic Society” and is owner of Cruzan Organix Farm, Inc. and Business Strategies, Inc.
Prior to her one-term in the Legislature, where she served as chairwoman of the Senate’s Economic Development, Regulations and Agriculture Committee, she served as assistant director at the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency from 2015-2017 and territorial director of Unemployment Insurance at the Virgin Islands Labor Department from 2012-2015, according to a statement from Government House.
She holds a Master’s degree in business administration from the University of the Virgin Islands and a Ph.D in Creative Leadership, Innovation and Change from the University of the Virgin Islands and Buffalo State College.
“It is imperative that we build a unit in the Virgin Islands that generates, complies, analyzes and distributes data to support our public and private sector,” DeGazon said in the statement issued by Government House.
“I intend to lead the charge in ensuring that our local data is accurate and accessible so that our policymakers can drive effective public policy and spur economic growth.”