Barshinger staff cruises for ‘software training’

BarshingerSt. John's Craig Barshinger, the Territory's At Large Senator, said he spent $5,310.64 for a week-long Caribbean cruise for eight people on his staff. They were participating in training sessions for his office's computer software, he told the Virgin Islands Daily News.

While the trip and its cost was approved at the outset by the senate President, he was not reimbursed.  "They paid zero. It canme out of my pocket," Barshinger said.  

The alternative for the training, he said, was to bring his St. Croix staff to St. Thomas, where he would have to cover hotel costs and food.

The trip is one of several for which Barshinger says he's been stiffed by the legislature, perhaps the cost of being an independent Senator.  "I have traveled very little because they won't let me travel," he told the newspaper after the Daily News requested spending records for the Legislature.

The Senator's most expensive trip was for a three-week training course at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.  The $11,200 cost included tuition, and room and board.

3 thoughts on “Barshinger staff cruises for ‘software training’”

  1. I SO agree Moriah!We are all very lucky that he is so committed to transparency. I trust him. Period.
    Cruises are SO cheap from here…why NOT be creative like this…Here is Sen. Barshingers take on today’s session:
    “I’m watching the Session today from off-island, and a noted that a
    resolution dealing with my lawsuit against the Legislature was
    special-ordered, debated, then, removed from the agenda. It was sponsored by
    Sen. Russell.
    I wasn’t there to speak. There was some misinformation given that I’d like
    to correct.
    Senator Hill said that the Daily News covered the travel expenses of all the
    returning senators except Barshinger, prior to the election. The fact is
    that the Daily News reported on my expenses, and included all expenses,
    including the cruise.
    Many senators made allusion to the cruise that I took my entire staff on on
    November 2010. The implication was that this was a bad thing. It was not.
    The facts are this:
    * The computer training was approved by Senate President Hill.
    * The least expensive quote we got was aboard a cruise ship.
    * The amount approved was $8,999 dollars.
    * I paid for it with my personal credit card.
    * The actually expenses were under $6,000, which I submitted for
    * Senator Hill did not reimburse.
    * It occurred during the two weeks when Senate President Hill closed the St.
    Thomas Legislature for roof replacement. The STT employees would have
    otherwise gotten paid but not worked. Senate President Hill made no
    provision for alternative workplace for the STT staff.
    * I am the only senator with offices on three islands. I use Enterprise
    software called FirstClass to keep the three offices working as one. It
    requires training to use it effectively.
    * On the cruise ship, we had our own computer training room. We had a
    computer instructor; we followed a syllabus. We trained for 4 hours ever
    day, including Saturday. On the last day there was an exam.
    * Each staff member was required to prepare a daily log of their experiences
    aboard the cruise ship, using FirstClass. This was written up using text and
    photos. It was shared with Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Gov.
    John deJongh, and Royal Caribbean VP Michael Ronan.
    Other misinformation: Senator Dowe said some things regarding the formation
    of the 30th Legislature. He was in error, and appeared to be confusing the
    formation of the 28th Legislature to the current formation!
    Senator White also said some incorrect things, which I have corrected
    All senators acknowledged that the matter is before the Court, and therefore
    could not support Sen. Russell’s resolution, which attempted to influence or
    sidestep the Court. After debate, the resolution was withdrawn prior to
    My lawsuit, which was filed ten months before the Audit Report came out,
    provided a basis upon which the financial information of the Legislature
    would have to be released.
    Very few have read the Complaint. It was clear that many of the senators who
    spoke on the Russell Resolution today had not read it. It is available on
    line at visenate.org, click Downloads.”

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