DMR on my mind: Scott Walker’s skin thins, Jim Hood and Stacey Pickering Obstruct and the blood letting at the Bolton Building continues

That post title is a mouthful folks. Let’s begin with Scott Walker as his lawyer filed a motion to keep Walker’s sentencing letters off the record.

Scott Walker to judge: Keep sentencing letters private ~ Anita Lee

Judge Starrett is construing motions from letters that Anita sent the court asking for access to the sentencing letters. The variations in how sentencing letters are handled vary across and within the various Federal Court districts and that variation is somewhat disconcerting. In Louisiana Eastern, sentencing letters are made available via PACER as a general rule without anyone in the media having to file motions to intervene and having to ask for them.  Here in Mississippi, Judge Ozerden released Roger and Sharon Ladner’s sentencing letters in the same way per my inspection of the docket in that case.

Last month at Bill Walker’s sentencing Judge Starrett mentioned that the jurisprudence in the area of sentencing letter release was well settled.  Walker’s motion in opposition to Anita’s request for the release of the letters prominently mentioned the fact that Judge William Steele over in Mobile withheld the letters in USA v Byrd, where the former Jackson County Sheriff got off very light, some would say “Judge Ginger light” and that is saying something.  I’m not yet convinced Steele had anything right in his ruling on the Byrd letters.

If I had to argue against one point Arthur Madden made in the Scott Walker motion, regardless of the jurisprudence, is the very narrow definition of newsworthiness he used. Here on Slabbed just over a year ago for instance, I connected a sentencing letter for Tim Whitmer to the Jefferson Performing Arts Center debacle where a letter confirmed a tip I received about long standing social connections that resulted in Jefferson Parish Parks and Recreation financially vetting construction invoices instead of the Parish’s Engineering Department. That in turn helped explain a portion of the saga of the taxpayer funded financial disaster that is JPAC. It will be interesting to see how Judge Starrett rules. Sentencing for Scott Walker is set for the 23rd.

Moving right along, despite Jim Hood’s best efforts Chancery Court Judge Jennifer Schloegel’s Public Records related sanctions against Hood, four of Hood’s assistant AG, the DMR, Auditor Pickering and two of Pickering’s investigators will stand per Judge Schloegel.

Meantime and even worse, both Hood and Pickering are blowing taxpayer money on contract lawyers appealing the $100 sanctions levied by Judge Schloegel. The taxpayers are also having to pick up the Sun Herald’s legal fees completing the Hood / Pickering breach of the public’s trust and right to access. We need fresh blood at both state agencies, ideally professionals that won’t piss away scarce tax money trying to cover their own foolishness,

Finally there is Miller time at DMR.  You’ve seen it in comments here on a persistent basis that Executive DIrector Jamie Miller continues to purge the agency of long time employees, seemingly for its own sake. In most every state agency and local political subdivision in varying degrees there are essentially two types of employees in the political hires and the technical hires.  Political hires come and go with the changing tides while the technical hires tend to last longer and eventually build up institutional knowledge.

In Jefferson Parish by way of example, technical functions like the Office of the Parish Attorney were also politicized.  When John Young cleaned house, rightfully so IMHO, the Parish also lost vital institutional knowledge and the loss of that knowledge was missed on occasion.

In the case of DMR, the purging is not necessarily political hires stinking up technical positions via incompetence that is the problem. In fact, it has been suggested that the continued bloodletting could be viewed as moving potential problems out of the way so the new dogs in town can belly up to the taxpayer trough.  Either way, its been close to 18 months since Miller time at DMR commenced, yet the purging of long time employees continues.  That fact is not what I would term confidence inspiring. Rest assured that I continue to pay attention even as DMR fades from the overall news cycle.

16 thoughts on “DMR on my mind: Scott Walker’s skin thins, Jim Hood and Stacey Pickering Obstruct and the blood letting at the Bolton Building continues”

  1. The word I’m hearing is that there has been numerous hires at the agency that weren’t even publicized. They are political and personal friends. Some hires that were publicized weren’t qualified for their positions and didn’t meet the minimum qualifications that were advertised under the job posting. Things are just as crooked at the DMR as they ever were and the ones being canned are the ones saying something about the nonsense.

  2. On the Pickering and DA issues–It sounds like they are crying like snot nose brats. They are getting a taste of they’re own medicine and are not liking the taste to well in terms of the judicial system. Maybe karma is kicking in and this is payback from pushing the issue that lead to two people having to admit guilt when there was no wrong doing in the first place and they could not afford to fight the illustrious regime. Perhaps someone should threaten them with bogus charges on top of this mess if they keep trying to fight it. Oh wait, that would not matter since they are utilizing tax payer money to fight their self created problems. All in all, I personally believe they’re behavior is very indicative of the investigation and prosecution that was conducted. Lets all hope they have indicted all the real “bad guys” from their investigation. I do know fraud and other similar crimes do not have a statute of limitations so if one or two were let off, it could cause some issues later on down the line.

    I agree with Cloud’s comments. It seems as if things at the DMR are “similar stuff, different suit” but much worse when you factor in all the firings. And, I have heard there have been more within the last few weeks.

    Cloud is right about positions at the DMR being filled without being advertised. I know Melissa Scallan was one of them. It just happens that the SH posted in article in the paper the other day regarding public relations professionals in state government. You can read about her “impeccable credentials” here:

    http://www.sunherald.com/2014/07/12/5695862/meet-the-pr-professionals.html

    You can also read more here:

    http://www.sunherald.com/2014/07/12/5696099/the-state-of-pr-officials-rely.html

    You can see this thing in action here on the Dumb and Dumber video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ2LCDH9vr0

    When one stands back an evaluates education and experience alone, an honest assessment of the “PR Professionals” in state government would reveal that Melissa Scallan is in the bottom quarter. What makes matters worse is her position was not advertised and she appears to have been hand selected by Jamie Miller himself. It kind of makes you wonder WTF is going on in the Bolton Building. More especially when the SH posted text stating “she said she wasn’t looking to leave the Sun Herald when a friend told her about a communications job at the DMR.”

    Yea…………..I wonder who that special friend was?

    It looks like that friend got exactly what was written on the prescription: A Podunk hillbilly that has been camping out at the newspaper for years with what appears to be, lack of motivation that is a direct reflection of her actual accomplishments at the DMR itself. Besides a few news releases, what has been actually produced by the communications department since she took the helm? I invite all to take a look at the DMR communications portion of the website and have a look for yourself.

    1. You are very correct with your conclusions regarding their PR department. Some other things to consider are that instead of a personal foundation, Miller is funneling millions to firms like the Horne group that are connected politically to the current regime. Top that with the new hires like the new political liaison who is a close personal friend, or the new shrimp and crab director who was Millers frat brother, or Millers new highly under qualified secretary and you have the Walker friends and family program all over again.

  3. Hi Eye – I have been waiting to see your posts again. A while back you said that the dam was fixing to break and nothing could stop it. I am not seeing any signs of the dam breaking. What is the hold up? When are the rest of the crooks at the DMR going down? What the hell is wrong with Phil Bryant??? Is he wearing blinders???? Can’t he see the mess that’s going on down here? Why don’t they put people in charge down there who know the field and know what is going on? Let the technical staff take the lead and be put in those cushy positions that they have worked hard to earn instead of the good old boys that are hunt and peckers.
    I, for one, think that it appears to me that at least Mr. Miller is trying to be successful. He has to do what he is being told to do by the big fat colonel or general or whatever he calls himself. It appears that he and the one that is over accounting are big fat transplants put in place to keep the funds flowing smoothly (wink, wink). They are laying around like a bunch of vultures waiting for the carcasses. It is so sad that our natural resources are being beaten out of that money and nothing has been done. What is it going to take? Where the hell is that snake nation??? Maybe we can get them to protest in front of that building!!! It appears that we are going to have to organize some sort of town hall meeting and put the cheese on the cracker and hold them to answer our questions. You can’t get anything done at those CMR meetings because they cut you off and won’t let you talk. Can you believe that??? And we pay their salaries!!! How arrogant can you get!!!
    I am still waiting patiently for the $h!t to hit the fan… How about it eye???

  4. I hate to repeat myself but Miller is doing what Blubberbutt tells him to do. And Wiggins is sitting over in the corner saying Amen making a name for himself for the next election. And the majority of the idiots in Mississippi continue to reelect the same ole, same ole. Look at what just happened with Cochran vs McDaniel and Taylor vs Palazzo! We will remain in 50th place in the nation of being the most corrupt state and with the elected field we have in office, it will not change.

  5. Cloud,

    I don’t know how you could have an under qualified secretary (unless they can’t read or have never used a computer), but it would not surprise me if a member of the radical regime could some how recruit such a being. Hehe

    Charlene,

    In regards to the dam fixing to break: I will bluntly say it will not at this point due to strategic reasons, political power over the judicial system and lack of money to fight the embedded regime.

    In regards to the rest of the crooks going down: You would have to personally call Stacy Pickering and the Harrison County DA and see what they have to say. I would be very interested in hearing what comes out of their mouths. You may hear something weak like “this is an ongoing investigation.”

    I for one think that is code for “we are preserving the politically connected and if something gets released to the public we have a leg to stand on and can backtrack.”

    Charlene, you seem to be a very curious person. I bet you would shit bricks if the mother of all whistle-blowers were revealed. 😉

    1. Eye, she doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications that the job posting required. She worked for a legal firm of a local state legislator that wanted her gone so a call was made and she was put into the position. There were numerous other well qualified applicants who were passed over.

      1. I should have clarified I was kidding around. 😉

        I know what you mean about not meeting the minimum qualifications. I have also heard over the last few years there have been a few different hiring actions at the DMR where meeting the minimum qualification standard has been questioned or completely diverted. After all, this is hearsay and if one wanted to know the details of particular hiring action I am sure we would get a straight and truthful answer if we asked the DMR HR director. 😉

  6. In regards to the Walker sentencing tomorrow–I have my chips placed on 6 years in a federal penitentiary.

    As personnel keep abandoning their positions and firings keep piling up at the DMR, does Jamie really know where the leaks are? Not even close I say.

    1. “Rutgers University’s Center for Public Integrity ranks Mississippi 6th in the nation in the enforcement of public corruption laws.”

      Well it’s almost like picking over ripe fruit off the ground. Color me unimpressed.

      1. I would not personally read into the award too much. Yes, Pickering did receive it but there are many government agencies and officials that get selected for awards that are based on frivolous criteria.

        On the slabbed tweet ticker:

        http://fortune.com/2014/07/28/most-corrupt-us-state-mississippi/

        Pickering defends our state but in the capacity of a person who was held in contempt of court–a charge that was related to actions that involved public distrust.

        Priceless

      2. Kingfish made a buck. The Sun Herald makes an uncritical news story out of Pickering’s press release.

        I use the term “uncritical” because it only presents what Pickering’s PR people want presented.

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