I’m seeing the sure signs this is an election year:
Mayors ‘disappointed’ by Tidelands Fund allocations ~ Geoff Belcher
There is something about the narrative that does not make sense and that would be why it wasn’t the House version of the funding split that was not ultimately passed if the versions between the House and Senate bills were so radically different. Has Hancock County’s allocation of Tideland’s money been cut overall? If the answer to the second question is no, then perhaps the respective Hizzoners should have engaged the process in the State Senate.
At the bottom of this is a failure of leadership and that stretches beyond eliminating the wave break from the construction plans for the Bay Harbor.
Per Anita Lee’s story on yesterday’s sentencing of Joe Ziegler, Ziegler claimed he had nothing to do with the foundation but instead was the DMR lobbyist for the legislature. Trinity Walker begs to differ. I’m hoping some of you old DMR salts can help reconcile the difference.
As for Ziegler, other than what he told Judge Starrett yesterday in court that garnered Team Walker’s ire, mums the word as he’s letting his attorney Joe Sam Owens do all the talking: Continue reading
This is what happens when, by design, the oversight board for an agency is structured to be captured out of the gate and people with an economic interest in specific outcomes allow their personal financial interests to trump the public interest:
CMR to allow limited oyster dredging season ~ Steve Phillips
Of course the people with the economic interest in specific outcomes were the same people who brought the public Billy Walker and his reign of thievery. That said there is one person on the CMR who is actually looking out for more than just himself:
Those same concerns were echoed by DMR scientists, as the CMR considered a limited dredging season this year.
“The areas where there’s a high recruitment and a good spat set, I think we need to look at limiting those,” said the DMR’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Kelly Lucas.
Commissioner Ernie Zimmerman said he couldn’t go against that recommendation.
“What scares me to death is letting these fishermen go make a dollar today and take two dollars out of their pocket next year,” said Commissioner Zimmerman.
And those that are only looking out for themselves: Continue reading
And Anita Lee was there when Kerwin Cuevas copped a plea:
DMR heads ‘ran it like they owned it’ former employee told judge ~ Anita Lee
Cuevas also said, “The department was being run like it had no oversight and the people in charge ran it like they owned it.”
That one statement sums up the DMR scandal better than anything written before or since. Why Governor Bryant and his legislature refuses to require every state agency to be audited annually defies the imagination…that is until one logically concludes that what we saw at DMR more than likely repeats across every state agency.
As for Cuevas, the man who knew where all the bodies were buried ended up with the best deal.
There is the media and then the media behind the media if that makes sense. The local environmental movement has a wonderful email list where pretty much everyone including those in officialdom are included in the missives.
I’m not gonna kiss and tell beyond saying that as per DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller the electronics aboard the Conservationist were saved. Meantime speculation swirls as to the cause of the accident.
Speaking of the word speculation the fact that it ends with the letters “tion” strongly implies it is derived from the french language, which itself is derived from latin. Here is the latin origin of the word from the good folks over at the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Latin speculatus, past participle of speculari to spy out, examine, from specula lookout post, from specere to look, look at
Following the Latin word specula in turn leads here, which in turn leads us back to the 5th floor at the Bolton Building but there’s more as in more speculation, because people in the environmental community are openly wondering why the Sun Herald’s DMR beat Krewe has seemingly disappeared. This is a subject which I have no knowledge whatsoever but I do have some insight because I’ve been around the media business long enough to understand how it sometimes works.
Those that want the benefit of that insight should click here. I do not have time to fool with it but the answer could be just a public records request away for any of you that might be motivated to find out for certain.
Interesting that the news accounts of a 65 foot DMR vessel capsizing all referenced a press release that does not appear on the DMR website:
65-foot DMR vessel capsizes in Mississippi Sound, nobody injured ~ Gareth Clary
What we do know is the DMR boat was moving Oysters from the polluted waters of the Pascagoula river to the oyster reefs that the CMR routinely allows to be overfished to the point where they are no longer self sustaining. I bet the amount of tax money that is spent on repopulating overfished oyster reefs does not justify the economic impact and I think the economic theory favors that hypnosis.
Now I wasn’t there yesterday when the boat capsized but my various peeks at the Mississippi sound yesterday from here in the Bay did not reveal it to be very choppy, especially for a 65 foot boat. As Eye-Spy points out there has been lots of turnover at the DMR since Miller time began. I am not certain we’ll ever get a straight up account of what caused the accident.
- Interest in the doings at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources remains very high here on the Gulf Coast.
- Now is the time of year that public interest groups and others are honing their legislative agendas for the January 2015 session of the Mississippi legislature.
Regarding the first item Slabbed will continue to take an interest a state agency that continues to generate public interest in my readers. Regarding the second I am happy to work with those people that promote a fiscally conservative message. This includes elimination of the Franchise Tax which I am told Lite Gov Tate Reeves is planning to push in the State Senate.
Finally, in other news I am told that the endorsement machine for 24th JDC Division O candidate John Sudderth has ended as the Greater New Orleans GOP yesterday endorsed Thomas Anselmo, Jr. for the 24th JDC Division O seat. Given Sudderth’s murky background I was mildly surprised the Parish GOP executive committee and the Alliance for Good Government have endorsed Sudderth for the Division O seat, which encompasses areas on the West Bank of the Mississippi River. With well over a month to the election I am told Anselmo is closing some of the gap with Danyelle Taylor, who my political sources have identified as the early frontrunner in the race. Both Anselmo and Taylor actually live on the Westbank and politically that is important in Division O.
Today I received a communication from a current DMR Employee. Following is an edited version of what Slabbed New Media was sent.
The was submitted to the DMR hotline as well in response to Miller cleaning house at Department of Marine Resources by the Sun Herald.
I’m going to point out some of the discrepancies and inaccurate statements Jamie Miller has made to the media:
- There are in fact a few people still working in the finance office that were here during the Walker era. Jamie Miller has these remaining employees set up to be outcasts and potentially making them feel unwelcomed, driving them to the point of quitting. Since the new hires in the office, Bill Feidt included, have no clue as to what is going on, this is a terrible idea as the agency is going to crumble without these people. As a non finance department employee, I do no feel welcomed here at all and the overwhelming majority of those I speak to have the same feelings. This agency is seemingly more corrupt and crooked than it was before. Jamie Miller has brought in a culture that resembles a Middle Eastern dictatorship and the only ones reaping the benefits are himself and the select few he has hired in and/or contracted services.
- There is no tighter control over spending. We have overpaid for numerous services and for items that the administrations wants but the DMR has no need for. Some examples include the new sod in the boat yard/compound. There was no need to landscape this area and the sod that was put in place is dying due to lack of care and maintenance. Others include multiple new vehicles for the administration to use as their own. Also, DMR has too many unmarked cars that are being used as personal/work vehicles. That needs to be corrected.
- Grants and spending for most employees is being monitored. Purchases that are for the administration seemingly aren’t. I’m sure they are being reviewed but no one is questioning them. Equipment for the agency takes way to long to get through because Bill Feidt doesn’t look at them for months. Aside from the administrators parading around in their renovated offices and new vehicles, it is becoming increasingly harder for the agency to do it’s mission due to the lack of proper equipment being purchased in a timely fashion. Money is still being misspent and moved around.
- Some of our new administration hires are a joke. Four people now do Joe Ziegler’s old job, about three too many as Ziegler didn’t really do anything to begin with. Dr. Kelly’s hire is seemingly the only one that was really needed and she has been a welcomed asset to the agency.
- Commissioner Richard Gollott has been made aware of the ongoing problems within the agency for a while now. He does nothing but cheerlead the others commissioners into overruling the scientific staff.
- Turnover has not just been in executive staff and management. There has also been way more turnover than what was implied in the article.
- The complaints hotline is for show. I understand the administration has been seen laughing over some of the hotline reports. Also, when reports come in about our director and other administrators, they are rumored to discuss who turned these reports in for possible retaliation against those employees. Complaints also don’t go to the CMR unless they are about Jamie Miller and then they sometimes go into executive session regarding these issues. Nothing seemingly happens but it’s nice to think that they at least take things into consideration.
There are a couple of my peeps down here that contacted you to register their displeasure at how this DMR thing worked out. To the extent they took the time to engage your office I think it would be nice if those folks heard back from you or one of your staff. Mac, for example, hit the beach a little over a year ago protesting the systemic corruption and she is not getting any younger. It would be nice if she at least got some sort of communication from you guys acknowledging her letter.
As always I thank you guys up DC way for being in that number here on Slabbed.