Tag Archives: Mississippi Department of Marine Resources

Speculation, Skullduggery, Intrigue plus he biffed

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.

I’m sensing there is way more to this story than the DMR Spoon fed the media

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.

A few things are very clear….

  1. Interest in the doings at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources remains very high here on the Gulf Coast.
  2. 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.

A DMR employee speaks, says Jamie Miller sourced article all wet

Today I received a communication from a current DMR Employee. Following is an edited version of what Slabbed New Media was sent.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Turnover has not just been in executive staff and management. There has also been way more turnover than what was implied in the article.
  7. 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.

Continue reading

Attention Eric Holder of Washington DC……

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.

DMR Public Records Leaks: Shumate land transaction raises questions (Updated)

There was one document in the last care package that I could not fit with the others yet the leaker thought it important enough to include. I’m hoping the community here can help solve this mystery. The language on Exhibit A leads me to believe this may be part of a section 1031 Exchange but we can’t conclude that based solely on these documents. What we do know was that Team Shumate was doing land transactions right up to the time the larger DMR Scandal broke in the media:

Shumate Loan July 2012

Shumate Loan July 2012

Update:
See comments for the answer to the question.

DMR Document Dump Miscellany: More Heberts and a Shumate plus Miller Time

It’s Miller time so let them eat shrimp!

By Anonymous Leak to Slabbed New Media

By Anonymous Leak to Slabbed New Media LLC

2014 Coastal Legislative Reception on the Taxpayers

We’ve had some people asking about the administration of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Here are two interesting sets of CIAP Technical Review Committee Documents: Continue reading

DMR Timesheets raise troubling questions regarding contract worker payment and supervision (Updated)

Slabbed has obtained timesheets related to contract work performed by Samantha Hebert at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.  Before I show you folks what I have we need to back up in time, first to December of 2012 when the DMR Scandal was still young when Anita Lee and Karen Nelson detailed the DMR friends and family program for the Sun Herald:

Relatives of DMR employees also work at the agency, although DMR directors say the hirings comply with the agency’s nepotism policy. The nepotism policy prohibits employees from participating in the hiring process for, or supervising, immediate family members, which includes in-laws. It does not prohibit family members from working at DMR.

Walker said his daughter-in-law was hired by DMR Public Relations Director Lauren Thompson and works as a special projects officer. Trinity Walker, wife of Scott Walker, is paid $27,700 a year, according to state records.

Walker said Thompson also hired Samantha Hebert, the sister of Tina Shumate, DMR’s director of coastal management. Hebert works under contract as a videographer, and has been paid $91,300 since October 2010, state records show. Hebert could not be reached at DMR to comment on her job.

When asked how to reach her sister, Shumate said, “She works for Dr. Walker, so you’d have to talk to him.”

Shumate, recently scrutinized in a federal audit for using grant money for DMR’s purchase of her parents’ Pascagoula property, also has a son and brother-in-law who were contract workers. Shumate said she was not involved in hiring her son, who participated in a summer work program while in high school. She said Walker hired her brother-in-law, who was employed only a short time.

The excerpt is very important for a number of reasons but before I get into that we need to fast forward to this past May when Susan Perkins, Leslie Gollott and Grant Larsen copped pleas to state charges related to their tenure of employment at DMR. To the extent Anita’s story that was linked in my post on the topic is now 404, I use the AP wire version that was run in the Washington Times: Continue reading

Jamie Miller hasn’t learned yet that you can’t fire everyone……..

There is always gonna be someone that knows the score that is gonna talk to somebody. Reigning in the political hacks/lightweights that permeated Congressman Palazzo’s staff and managing a state agency are two different things.  DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller may find that out one day.

Everyone remember the sweetheart contract Miller let to Frontier Gulf Coast for Public Relations work that the “Public” never discerned?

Complaint filed against DMR over tracking of agency expenses ~ Anita Lee

Folks Miller is paying mucho money for bean counting and PR:

The half-page “time & expense analysis” listed hours worked by five Horne employees, by title, at hourly rates ranging from $48 to $285 an hour. Hourly fees for Horne totaled $111,973.50 and undocumented expenses were $9,041.45. The sheet also listed an hourly rate of $150 for a Frontier consultant, 286 hours worked and a total charge of $42,900. An EnStrat consultant charged $150 an hour for 234.50 hours, for a total of $35,581.80.

Maybe the reason Miller keeps firing long time employees is DMR can’t afford to pay salaries after they pay for all their no bid professional services contracts. It is good to see others are paying attention too.