The many times over the past 7 years or so that I have communicated with a well placed source, invariably the information imparted is also accompanied by restrictions on its use and disclosure of the source. It has occurred to me that I disclose much less about these people, than say the AP, who will describe a source like “someone in government that requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media”. My description would probably include a janitor and a homeless drunk but Slabbed has built up enough street credibility that we can get by with that. Even better it help protect the folks that are sharing information. It is no secret that in the Yenni Building at least one and I think more dragnets have been run trying to figure out the identity of the famous (infamous) Wino of Lafayette Square so I understand the restrictions and manage to thrive figuring ways around them without shutting off the information flow.
All that said I’ll report now that outdoor living during the Polar Vortex was too much, even for the indefatigable Wino, and she died last Winter. Now a moment of silence:
I buried my lead to make a point but from Slabbed’s DMR coverage I would posit it is safe for the reader to assume Slabbed has a kick ass source or two or three on the topic. These folks are located from Jackson and points south all the way to the Mississippi sound and some of what you’ll read here is reflected in what they have told me and what I continue to tell hear.
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.
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 “A few thoughts on the Bill Walker sentencing”
Take state sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, for example, who happens to be a principal in an organization which is on the hook for some $300,000 under Kennedy’s new persnickety regime. It turns out that The Colomb Foundation is a non-profit run by her husband Sterling Colomb, Jr., and it was begun as a tribute to his mother Verna Colomb, who died of breast cancer, and his adopted sister Dene’ Colomb, who was tragically murdered by Baton Rouge serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. The foundation says its principal mission is to promote breast cancer awareness, as though nobody in the private sector is doing that without getting government dollars, and it says it puts on an annual cancer walk, an annual health fair and an annual teen summit – apparently for that purpose. We couldn’t find anything on the web site about any of those events actually taking place, and a Google search for them didn’t yield anything either. In fact, here’s a sample of what you’ll find on the site’s “calendar“ page…
Back in 2010 Jason Berry over at American Zombie coined the definitive phrase for the phenomenon Scott now describes: “Conprofit“. Here in Mississippi let’s all join hands and say Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation three times fast. Different scam, same concept.
D. Trick Question, Only schmucks pay for their own furniture
As those of you reading certain of Slabbed’s recent DMR posts know, it seems as though all the dirty laundry is coming out. In fact it truly is all coming out.
With an eye towards the future I’ll disclose that for some reason I missed the fact that Mrs. Walker hails from the land of Dizzy Dean and it is entirely possible, in fact highly probable, that my peeps know her peeps. I mention this because of my prior experience interviewing spouses of convicted felons can not be gainsaid. I can supply references and I think they will all say that Handshoe was very fair.
For now let’s just put a circle around all this for later use.
So yes, Billy Walker has hired one of State Farm’s big Mississippi based law firms to represent him in Baker Donelson, such firm an occasional topic on these pages dating way back to Slabbed’s early days.
Actually some of it is yesterday’s and the day before’s but I am steadily wrapping my mind around this troubled state agency and there are a couple of items which deserve a second look and maybe a bit of analysis. First comment bumped is from Eye-Spy:
This is a classic example of waste, fraud and abuse by the state government–along with other devious insider deals. Will someone please explain to me how a contracting agency can collect mega bucks from political campaigns and then turn around and nail numerous communications contracts with the state government?
Susan Perkins was put in that position to help fix the PR department and its unfortunate she did not get the chance to do that. The former director Lauren Thompson was clueless since she was hired years ago and she did nothing to help the DMR image. Over the years, she continuously destroyed relationships with the people in the DMR offices, the media, and had groves of employees quit because they couldn’t stand her. Of course she was never moved because Ol’ Bill Walker was in charge and it seems he was caught up with higher priorities. Her finally being demoted from a government position should tell everyone how bad her performance was. So, the question is why didn’t the former director get the boot? Or, is that coming in the near future when Frontier renews another contract to take over all communications?
To this I’ll add the PR department was a dumping ground for Bill Walker cronies and that included his daughter in law Trinity, who did not possess the prerequisites for the position to which she was hired. Sources indicate to Slabbed she showed up for work everyday, put in an honest 8 hours and worked hard. That is also beside the point IMHO. I suspect such is true across DMR which I’m picturing in my minds eye as having employees scattered about that were qualified for the positions they held and knew how to do the work burdened with political hacks and cronies that may or may not give an honest effort or know how to do the jobs for which they were hired. To a person in both the commenting community here on Slabbed and former DMR employees familiar with the operations of the agency speaking with Slabbed on the condition of anonymity, Susan Perkins was known as Do Bee that was actually qualified to run the PR department. It raises troubling questions as to why Executive Director Jamie Miller fired her in light of the fact he is now hiring out communications to Phil Bryant political crony Joe Cloyd.
It is at this point that I remember noting from the Sun Herald public records materials posted online that strongly indicated one department head was not qualified to hold the job and that was at the PR department before Perkin’s came back. A PR Department that must hire freelance a local sports reporter (from the Sun Herald) to do its press releases has several employees too many in my opinion but that is exactly what Ms. Perkin’s predecessor did. Your tax money at work folks.
Next up is Ocean Springs Mayoral Candidate John McKay and his story du jour about his taxpayer funded deep sea fishing trips with Billy Walker. Just a few short days ago he even claimed Walker as a friend again, fresh off throwing him under the bus last weekend. Karen “Campaign Killa” Nelson has the skinny:
McKay told the Sun Herald he is friends with Walker and feels Walker has been mistreated by the Sun Herald, which has reported on spending practices of the agency.