Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’
Actually some of it is yesterday’s and the day before’s but I am steadily wrapping my mind around this troubled state agency and there are a couple of items which deserve a second look and maybe a bit of analysis. First comment bumped is from Eye-Spy:
This is a classic example of waste, fraud and abuse by the state government–along with other devious insider deals. Will someone please explain to me how a contracting agency can collect mega bucks from political campaigns and then turn around and nail numerous communications contracts with the state government?
Susan Perkins was put in that position to help fix the PR department and its unfortunate she did not get the chance to do that. The former director Lauren Thompson was clueless since she was hired years ago and she did nothing to help the DMR image. Over the years, she continuously destroyed relationships with the people in the DMR offices, the media, and had groves of employees quit because they couldn’t stand her. Of course she was never moved because Ol’ Bill Walker was in charge and it seems he was caught up with higher priorities. Her finally being demoted from a government position should tell everyone how bad her performance was. So, the question is why didn’t the former director get the boot? Or, is that coming in the near future when Frontier renews another contract to take over all communications?
To this I’ll add the PR department was a dumping ground for Bill Walker cronies and that included his daughter in law Trinity, who did not possess the prerequisites for the position to which she was hired. Sources indicate to Slabbed she showed up for work everyday, put in an honest 8 hours and worked hard. That is also beside the point IMHO. I suspect such is true across DMR which I’m picturing in my minds eye as having employees scattered about that were qualified for the positions they held and knew how to do the work burdened with political hacks and cronies that may or may not give an honest effort or know how to do the jobs for which they were hired. To a person in both the commenting community here on Slabbed and former DMR employees familiar with the operations of the agency speaking with Slabbed on the condition of anonymity, Susan Perkins was known as Do Bee that was actually qualified to run the PR department. It raises troubling questions as to why Executive Director Jamie Miller fired her in light of the fact he is now hiring out communications to Phil Bryant political crony Joe Cloyd.
It is at this point that I remember noting from the Sun Herald public records materials posted online that strongly indicated one department head was not qualified to hold the job and that was at the PR department before Perkin’s came back. A PR Department that must hire freelance a local sports reporter (from the Sun Herald) to do its press releases has several employees too many in my opinion but that is exactly what Ms. Perkin’s predecessor did. Your tax money at work folks.
Next up is Ocean Springs Mayoral Candidate John McKay and his story du jour about his taxpayer funded deep sea fishing trips with Billy Walker. Just a few short days ago he even claimed Walker as a friend again, fresh off throwing him under the bus last weekend. Karen “Campaign Killa” Nelson has the skinny:
McKay told the Sun Herald he is friends with Walker and feels Walker has been mistreated by the Sun Herald, which has reported on spending practices of the agency.
I have a multitude of irons in the fire this week so here is my short version of the down and dirty on the most recent DMR departures and count on the community to fill in the rest of the blanks. Susan Perkins is a respected communications professional. A $50,000 communications contract was just let on new DMR executive director Jamie Miller’s 60 day review of operations. There had to be some sort of internal conflict for Miller to make an example out of Perkins, and make an example of her is exactly what he did. Heuristics would indicate the two events are related but we really do not know enough to make that conclusion.
I do not know enough at this point to make speculate beyond that. Remember it was Miller the state GOP rolled out to reign in our fluffer Congressman’s out of control staff. As such I think we can reasonably infer he has a hatchet in his bag of tricks.
Jackson County Supervisor John McKay on getting taxpayer funded freebie fishing trips and boat rides from former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker as quoted by Michael “Da Noose” Newsom via the Sun Herald December 22, 2012:
“(Walker) has always been straightforward and honest in every situation I ever knew him to be in,” McKay said. “Whenever we casually were talking about this boat, and he said, ‘Hey, if you ever have an opportunity to use it, let me know.’ I didn’t question what the criteria was, who had been asked (to use the boat), who hadn’t been asked, any of those questions, because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it because I trust Bill Walker to this day, until he’s proved otherwise.”
“Whenever you go through (Bill Walker), you assume — I didn’t ask, but I assumed — DMR had this and did it on a regular basis, and I was led to believe they did it on a regular basis for a lot of folks,” McKay said. “… I don’t have any idea how it was funded. I didn’t ask. I was just offered the trip to take some kids out and take the legislators out, so I took advantage of it,” McKay said. The August birthday trip on the Silver Dollar charter boat wasn’t actually that, McKay said. The trip had been scheduled several months before, but McKay’s mother died in July. McKay had to call Bill Walker and tell him he wouldn’t be able to make the trip planned for himself, his grandson and friends. He said later Bill Walker told him there would be an opening on the boat, which happened to be near McKay’s grandson’s birthday. About 10 children, many of whom were McKay’s grandson’s friends, went out that day. “It happened to be within one week of my grandson’s birthday,” McKay said. “We just casually called it (a birthday trip), even though we didn’t have a cake, there was no presents, wasn’t anything. It was just word of mouth that’s what it was. It just happened to fall that way and wasn’t anything planned.”
Ocean Springs Mayoral Candidate John McKay as quoted by Karen “Campaign Killa” Nelson via the Sun Herald May 9, 2013: Read the rest of this entry »
This topic has been something of a red headed step child since early last month. I was glad to see the gang in officialdom has taken several of my suggestions as DMR is now crawling with auditors and consultants from two Mississippi CPA firms. I happen to know Shareholders/Partners at both firms, both of which have very good reputations for producing quality work. The firm from Hattiesburg, Nicholson and Company is very active in GOP political circles and I suspect the same is true of Horne in the Jackson area.
We’ve had hirings, firings and retirements including the subject of Slabbed’s brother in law deal reef expose that have caused lots of chatter, including the recent hiring of Kelly Lucas as Chief Science Officer at DMR.
Back to those suggestions Slabbed made, one that we can’t take any credit for is hiring the political PR firm to communicate the “good word” to the public at a cost of $50,000 in lieu of the seasoned professionals at Horne and Nicholson and Company, who I can attest first hand are possessive of excellent communications skills in their own right. So Slabbed today issues a BOLO for astroturfers on news stories etc on topic to DMR because that is part of what these political PR firms do.
In any event feel free to add anything DMR related in comments.
I would like to acknowledge the rampant rumor mill regarding DMR and Utility Authority related indictments
Cause it’s out there folks. With the benefit of my prior experience covering an active Federal criminal investigation, the key is to figure out who is squealing and the most reliable source of that information is usually the squealer, as was the case with Tim Whitmer. Along those lines Sean Anthony has been reported in comments here as cooperating with the authorities. I’m not ready to call such at this point but my experience has been the business people truly know where all the “bones are buried” for it is they that are the puppet masters.
I have some additional thoughts that, with a bit of luck, I’ll share later.
Pickering to deliver news on DMR foundation boats ~ Michael Newsom
I feel as though a media confab at Darwell’s draws near as the gang erects the grandstand over at the Bolton Building.
Former St Charles Parish DA Harry Morel’s daughter Judge Michele Morel was caught with her pants down showing her fanny to the minion. Bad form Ms Morel, very bad form.
Circus elephant shot in drive-by in Tupelo, Miss.; Ringling Bros. says animal is OK ~ AP Story via the WaPo and Russell
DEA Investigating Saints’ Vicodin Abuse Lawsuit, Sean Payton Denies All Allegations ~ SB Nation Series circa 2010
After Marathon attack, fellowship must prevail ~ Boston Globe Editorial Board
I’ll be honest and say I was not disappointed but there is little Gov Phil can do to disappoint me more than he already has during his term as Gov. So along those lines I did not feel any particular rush to roll anything out on new DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller, who was confirmed to that position earlier today by the Mississippi Senate.
If there is a silver lining here it is that the gang is listening and Miller promises to have the DMR Audited every year along with the standard Mississippi state government throwaway lines of being transparent and accountable. We’ll see.
Meantime Miller is a tweep of Slabbed New Media and likely reads us closely, so if there is anything you guys want to say I feel sure he is listening. For my part Miller’s close connections to Team Palazzo makes me dubious, especially since our fluffer Congressman’s daddy benefited from the friends and family program and the Palazzo family seems the type to loot whatever is not nailed down from the treasury. Along those lines if Miller wants to walk the walk of transparency he should immediately release the names of the politically connected land owners that were bought out with CIAP funds along with the amounts paid for the land.
I woke up this morning to a plethora of commentary on all the people connected to DMR that have died since the scandal broke late last Summer and was somewhat stunned by it. It appears all the interested parties are gathered here in the Slabbed internet community. It is an awesome responsibility due to the delicacy of the subject matter and having crossed this bridge once here on Slabbed last year it is one I do not take lightly.
Slabbed has heard from several sources that Phil Bass took his own life. His name has previously appeared on these pages in connection with his close connection to former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker. Walker is currently at the epicenter of a federal grand jury investigation into wrongdoing at Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. There is much speculation out there in the community that Bass’ untimely death is related. The rampant speculation about both Bass and Jessica Upshaw exists because transparency is still a foreign concept at the DMR.
From reading the commentary on Slabbed, it appears some of the relatives of the deceased still have unanswered questions. Perhaps in time with a bit of luck, those questions will be answered.
I was floored to the response to my vague post on DMR’s Phil Bass and I’m gratified I have so many readers here in Mississippi that took time to introduce themselves over the weekend. Time is short for me so here are a boatload of links:
What can I say folks but ‘Gate had S.H. Anthony called back in 2011.
Watching all the contortions involved with the Jefferson Parish council trying to wish this issue away is amusing. Now supposedly it is the Black Chamber of Commerce who is worried that instituting professional procurement practices in Louisiana second largest Parish and the end of pay to play style procurement will somehow hurt them. Chris Robert’s briefcase boy Mark Spears has point on this one folks.
Russell is both a Tweep and a member of the Slabbed Nation. I could not be more delighted that a homie has done well.
Paul covers the 24th JDC Division D race in depth.
DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein resigns in wake of federal investigation ~ Lauren McGaughy
Piyush’s second term is unraveling quickly it appears. Jeffrey over at Yellow Blog has been all over this story.
Hearing will be next week for Miller’s confirmation as DMR chief ~ Michael Newsom
So it turns out the lease on the Legion property was not expired as previously claimed by American Legion post Commander Clayton Thompson. Something tells me the bathrooms are gonna be built lawsuit or not. And in a blast from the past for that particular intersection I conclude with the following:
At this point I really do not want to believe what I just read but I have no reason to doubt its veracity. I’m looking for confirmation in comments or via email. Thanks.
OK folks time to tackle this DMR Executive Director thing part 1: Three Candidates went to Gov Phil…..
Allow me to share a bit of a Slabbed back story to kick off this post and that would involve the Goatherderian fleecing of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency as outlined in these two excellent rural delivery articles found here and here. Part of that saga, well chronicled on these pages, involved the untimely deaths of 3 ACOA employees involved in the loan. It was a twist I did not emphasize because I could never find a direct salience between the events but it exists as part of that story’s lore. I’m very hesitant to trample the deceased in order to report a story.
Along those lines I was drug kicking and screaming to the suicide of Michaela Hill even though it occurred, according to local lore, there at the Bolton Building last Summer. I am in fact reticent to this topic but then the emails started coming after the unfortunate events surrounding State Rep Jessica Upshaw’s untimely demise last weekend at the home of a former colleague in Mendenhall bubbled up. Here is a sampling of those reader emails:
Three finalist of the DMR director fiasco included Jessica Upshaw, who supposedly committed suicide Sunday in the garage of her boyfriend in Mendenhall……….
That brings the death total to three folks who have died, two by suicide and one by drowning, who have a history with the DMR.
Mrs. Hill being the first, then attorney and marine expert, Ricky Hembre, and now Upshaw…..attorney and oil spill legislator assigned to oversee the disaster and relief; also on the Conservation Committee of the House…..
After knowing the qualifications of the other two applicants, both successful women…
Let’s call that data point number 1. Here is data point number 2 from a source unconnected to data point 1 source: Read the rest of this entry »