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?
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.
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, Continue reading →
This isn’t quite as harebrained as Paradise Bay nor do the promoters appear to have the baggage but we’re approaching the zip code of economic futility with the long talked about and never built Diamondhead Casino. The lack of capital to fund several gaming projects here on the coast including the Rotate Black group should give everyone a big clue as to the economic viability of these proposals.
But now that the Mississippi DMR’s Jamie Miller has suddenly discovered the environmental mission of the agency makes the whole deal way too rich, especially since I’m in the process of authoring a post that examines Miller’s tenure at DMR as Phil Bryant’s Biloxi based water boy.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! ~ Galatians 2:21
Give ‘em a show that’s so splendiferous, row after row will grow vociferous.. ~ Fictional lawyer Bill Flynn
Both of those quotes come to mind to explain what I saw on Monday in Hattiesburg at Bill Walker’s sentencing. Let’s start with the part that is guaranteed to raise the collective blood pressure of the residents of South Mississippi. Michael Janus and Scott Walker did a fair amount of mutual backslapping during the break between Janus’ sentencing and Bill Walker’s hearing. It did not violate proper courtroom personal decorum in my opinion but given the circumstances I thought it was a bit odd.
Bill Walker OTOH barely spoke a word instead relying on his lawyer Bill Kirksey, who Judge Starett concluded “well represented” Walker before he sentenced him to 60 months in prison and this gets us to the “splendiferous” part. You gotta figure Walker paid a fortune for Kirksey’s professional services, the most practical application of which meant that most everyone assembled in the courtroom got a small share of misery. To set up that which I am speaking we need to start with some lovely music: Continue reading →
I have it on the best authority that business will be picking up rather dramatically and I plan on being at ground zero when the muck begins to fly later today. Meantime we have Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood joining State Auditor Stacey Pickering in an incredible display of asshatitude per Paul Hampton’s recap of Judge Schloegel’s contempt order against Pickering, Hood and company.
“General Hood curiously stated it might be very embarrassing for a chancery judge to be admonished by a federal judge should the assistant U.S. attorney charge the chancellor with obstruction of justice and contempt of a grand jury subpoena,” Schloegel wrote about the phone call. “General Hood’s hypothetical regarding criminal charges against the undersigned chancellor and other remarks reinforced General Hood’s clear intent not to seek to mitigate the contempt of his client, the auditor, and furthermore, raised questions of his own role, the role of the Attorney General’s Office and the role of the defendants and their employees in the issuance of the federal grand jury subpoena and the wrongful removal of the records from state court jurisdiction.”
The DMR has been in the news lately concerning the tendency for connected, influential people to get special treatment or special opportunities. After extensive federal and state investigations there have been turnovers of some personnel and the promise that things would change for the better.
The recent rule changes that the Commission on Marine Resources and that the DMR staff have worked on lately to put more fish in the hands of fewer people, suggest that the DMR is still looking to make marine resources more available to some and to make the resource less available to unconnected, “little” people.
Increasing the speckled trout quota so that more speckled trout are funneled into the sea food markets which are better-connected and more influential than the “little” people who go out on public piers to try to catch something or go out in boats on weekends is funneling the resource into fewer hands.
Changing the hook and line license so that those who can’t or won’t produce at least 10% of their income off the sale of fish is cutting out those struggling to live on retirements and who appreciated supplementing their income by 5% or even 9%. Leaving the hook and line rule so that anyone who is determined enough, skilled enough or desperate enough to catch hundreds of pounds of speckled trout, for example, in a single day while others are limited to 15 per person or in the case of redfish 3 per person, is seeing to it that those more favored individuals get a bigger piece of the pie than the average “little” person. If the DMR had changed, they would have fixed the bad rule that said recreational people have daily limits while the hook and line license holder can catch the entire yearly allotment of a species in a single day if a rod and reel had that capability. Continue reading →
Jamie Miller came to the Executive Director’s job at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources with a reputation as a no nonsense hatchet man and he has lived up the PR in his first 10 months on the job. In true Mississippi political fashion the surviving, politically connected finalist was also hired on with the agency as well so as to minimize blowback potential, Joe Cloyd got another do nothing sweetheart state contract and all was declared well with the world.
Mistake not the fact that Miller was Phil Bryant’s man from the start as there was never really any competition for the Executive Director job in the wake of Bill Walker’s departure from the agency. Miller Time reigns supreme at DMR and so it is natural the local legislative delegation would be pushing reforms that give even more power to the executive director and that is exactly what Senate Bill 2579 does.
Like most legislation it contains things that people would judge to be good and bad. I personally like the fact the agency will be required to have an annual audit performed. That said on these pages commenters have decried giving the Executive Director even more power and when I read the bill I wondered why there is even such a thing as a Commission on Marine Resources given the Executive Director’s sweeping power to hire the top positions with no oversight. More on that in a bit. Continue reading →