Ernie nabs spot on Commission on Marine Resources

You go Ernie!

Governor Bryant Appoints Ernie Zimmerman to Commission on Marine Resources ~ Governor’s Office Press Release

BILOXI—Gov. Phil Bryant today announced the appointment of Ernie Zimmerman of Waveland to the Commission on Marine Resources.

The Commission on Marine Resources steers the vision of the Department of Marine Resources. Zimmerman has been a member of the Coastal Conservation Association since 2002 and currently serves as president of the Bay St. Louis chapter, a position he also held from 2002-2007. He also is a member of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation.

It is my hope the 4 commissioners that were asleep at the switch while former executive director Bill Walker and his family were looting out the agency that are still on the CMR don’t ruin Ernie, especially those such as Commissioner Jimmy Taylor, who personally benefitted from Bill Walker’s Conprofit Yacht scheme. How those guys are still on the CMR defies the imagination.

Regardless congratulations to Ernie Zimmerman from his peeps at Slabbed.

Commission on Marine Resources Protest Open Thread

We need an online spot to coordinate and exchange information on the August 20, 2013 picket at the Bolton Building for the 9:00AM CMR meeting so this post is it. A couple of thoughts:

  • We have sign capability for those that need one.  What we need to get a handle on is who needs a sign?  I believe we have two volunteers for signs we just need a number.
  • Mac is willing to carpool in to save parking spaces.  She sent out a group email blast along those lines.  Such is a very good idea IMHO.
  • Building and grounds needs to be contacted to see what they allow on state property in terms of picket lines etc.

Any other thoughts encouraged in comments. Thanks.

Comment bump: Boat engines purchased by DMR

RFP in comments to Protest Time at DMR as rumors swirl about taxpayer paid boat motors going into private boats:

Not knowing the specifics what is alleged…

These engines have serial numbers. That may be seen on pages 8 and 13 here.
Proper preventative maintenance typically happens based on records of hours of use, gallons of fuel consumed, and calendar time since previous work. As loss of power offshore in the Gulf can be fatal, one would expect regular scheduled maintenance, which would leave records of the same somewhere.

Another question deserving an answer is what happened to the engines which were replaced in each instance. There should be a considerable “core” value, who received it? These are two per boat, so even if there was a catastrophic failure in one, there should have been one in running condition when removed. These invoices show no core credit or allowance. Someone got it somewhere somehow.

Slabbed previously profiled the person that was identified as the DMR employee responsible for the fishing fleet and indeed his name appears on the Johnson Diesel invoice RFP linked above.

Protest time at DMR as rumors swirl about taxpayer paid boat motors going into private boats

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more ~ Shakespeare, Henry The Fifth Act 3

Vital background can be found here and here.

I will not repeat the very specific tip I received by email yesterday beyond saying the FBI and/or the Office of the State Auditor should immediately account for every engine purchased for DMR fishing boat fleet (since auctioned) and ascertain exactly which boats got which engines as I am hearing there was one extra engine and it was installed in a private boat.  I understand that engine is now located in Woolmarket at a diesel repair shop there.

I’m getting lots of indication the Snake Nation, SEA Party and Slabbed Nation want to have another protest gathering outside the Bolton Building while the next Commission on Marine Resources meeting is being held.  Straight up folks we need more than 11 people and while I know we can count on the folks that protested outside Joe Cloyd’s house they need help on the front line. The next meeting is on Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at 9:00 a.m at the Bolton Building.

We have one week to prepare.  If the core group give a thumbs up I will cover the protest gathering for Slabbed New Media.  The bottom line is there are still dark forces populating DMR and it appears our State Auditor Stacey Pickering may be running interference for them for the sake of political expediency given his predilection to let the same bunch $tuff copiou$ amount$ of campaign ca$h in hi$ pocket$.

Time to go guys……

SUN HERALD | Editorial: Bryant has key role to fill at the CMR, but don’t limit his choices just to Hancock County

So again, we urge the remaining commissioners to follow Asper’s lead and permit the governor to appoint a fresh group of commissioners. Such a clear and clean break with the past would go a long way toward re-establishing the credibility of both the CMR and the DMR.

A federal audit has confirmed that during the tenure of the previous executive director and the current commissioners, the DMR became a rogue agency. Millions of tax dollars were misspent or mismanaged.

And the public has yet to learn the results of ongoing investigations by the state Auditor’s Office and the FBI.

Asper out at the Commission on Marine Resources

He resigned yesterday. The final OIG report was certainly the catalyst for the move.

Slabbed New Media wishes Dr. Asper well in his future endeavors.

See why it is time for Vern and pals to go, know what I mean?

Behold the terrible price of unbridled greed!

Inspector general audit questions millions in CIAP grants at DMR ~ Anita Lee and Paul Hampton

Unfortunately the piece does not have the actual draft report but it is safe to say this is what happens when a gaggle of uninterested stooges, distracted by toys and freebie deep sea fishing trips comprises the Board of Directors of any entity. In fact dysfunctional Boards of Directors are the norm in these situations.  And when a Federal Auditor issues a finding and question cost, that does not mean the auditor has a question about something. Rather it is the first and most important step in making a (sub)grantee gone bad pay misspent money back.  The Commission of Marine Resources, per their power under the Mississippi Code, had to approve each and every one of these specious transactions.  Just like with the Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish, given what we know about the extent of the problems, the odds of having to pay back massive sums of money back are overwhelming. In that respect it matters not the audit is not final.

Today’s cost to the taxpayers of Mississippi: $30 $12 million dollars.

The IG evidently had a little something for everyone, even my peeps in the land of Dizzy Dean:

A grant totaling about $1 million, including $788,300 added through an amendment, has been designated for the Old Wire Road Trail Project in Stone County, a 20-mile asphalt trail along an old telegraph line. Stone County, the audit says, “is a land-locked county not designated as an eligible recipient for CIAP grants.”

Stone County’s grant consultant, Nell Murray, also serves as a commissioner for the Heritage Area, as did six others who either managed or potentially benefited from CIAP money, the audit says. Murray could not be reached to comment.

There is one Slabbed reader that, when I point out something way in the inside or drop a major stink bomb, will contact me and the greeting is laughter. Welp folks, I can envision this conversation:

Hehehehehehehe Nell Murray Hehehehehehehe

Nell have a conflict of interest??? Who wudda thunk such a thing? Continue reading “See why it is time for Vern and pals to go, know what I mean?”

Time to go, know what I mean Vern?

For the second time the Sun Herald has called for a complete house cleaning at the Commission of Marine Resources, a subject which Slabbed has reserved judgment upon until very recently.  With the release of the Horne CPA Group report on the internal control structure of the very troubled Department of Marine Resources it is abundantly clear the very people charged with overseeing the agency and its governance were completely derelict in the discharge of that duty. The taxpayers will get stuck with the bill.

Since the scandal broke the consistent theme from the Commission on Marine Resources has been a Sergeant Schultzian “I know nothing” and I think the gang is being 100% truthful saying that.  It betrays the fact they were simple rubber stamps for Bill Walker.  Later they continued in their role of lackey, this time for Phil Bryant as they conducted the charade of an open hiring process for DMR Executive Director that landed Jamie Miller at DMR.

Another word for a rubber stamp board, Godfather style, is “buffers” and that is the real purpose of the Commission on Marine Resources which is to give the man really responsible for the operation of State Government, the Governor, cover when his cronies are caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  The Board members will point to the fact they are essentially volunteering their time to this state agency and that is true enough.  However it is equally true they are an expensive bunch of volunteers to support with the taxpayer funded freebie deep sea fishing trips and all the other toys that also come with the turf.

This goes way beyond a money issue though money to fund the agency is certainly the topic de jour.  The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, as it is currently structured, is constructed to fail. Since the Governor is really calling the shots, the Commission on Marine Resources should be eliminated, or a new board constructed and empowered to provide proper oversight free from political interference from Jackson save for the power of appointment.  I am not so naive to think the latter will ever happen so the chop shop it is.  There is no way this bunch of bumbling lackeys will ever regain the public’s trust.

Finally I’m certainly aware there is huge uncertainty among the worker bees at DMR, the vast majority of whom are still discharging their job duties at a high level despite the circus show like atmosphere iternerate to hosting monthly an oversight board of know nothing stooges.  At this point in time there should be no reason the agency should not have a firm grasp of exactly where it stands financially.  This needs to be clearly communicated to the employees so the uncertainty is minimized.

He so lucky……

Yep he sho’ is:

Why is he lucky?  Because there no time for me to dissect the report on DMR’s operations today. I’ve read the reader comments left here on same and am amused professionally. CPAs always write “to the inside” and the Horne CPA Group report is no different. Did anyone find the problems Slabbed uncovered in the artificial reef program mentioned? It is not in there by name but it is in there folks.

I caution the readers about substituting their judgments on risk assessment for Horne’s though I will not illustrate why right now in the interest of time. I did make sure the part I thought was most important made it out on Twitter yesterday and I see Paul Hampton got the takeaway and included it at the end of his comprehensive piece on yesterday’s developments.

This review is a damning portrait of the Bill Walker tenure at DMR so how about another lovely song. Continue reading “He so lucky……”