It appears Deputy State Superintendent Dr. John Q. Porter has fed quite well at the public trough over the last few years. The State Board of Education hired Dr. Porter at a salary of $195,000 in May, 2015. State Auditor Stacey Pickering told Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright the salary was illegal since it exceeded 150% of the Governor's salary. However, Dr. Porter made a nice sum of money through no-bid contracts awarded behind closed doors before he was hired.
The State Board of Education hired Dr. Carey Wright in September, 2013. Dr. Porter followed her to Mississippi six months later. However, he was not hired as a Deputy Superintendent until May 21, 2015. Dr. Porter made his money the Mississippi way. The Board awarded several consulting contracts worth $293,404 to Dr. Porter and his company, Blue Sky Innovative Solutions, LLC. The Board approved every contract in executive session. The Board finally voted in executive session to hire Dr. Porter as the Deputy Superintendent at a salary of $195,000 - after Dr. Porter wrote the job notice and screened all applicants himself.
A review of minutes (all are posted below) and the MDE website reveal the following actions regarding Mr. Porter, Mr. Stokes, and Blue Sky:
*May 15-16, 2014. The Board approved a contract modification for Blue Sky. The term of the contract ran from March 12, 2014 to June 30, 2014. The modification increased the contract from $29,050 to $98,450 ($69,450 increase.). The modification was approved in executive session on a vote of 7-0. Board member Rosemary Aultman moved to modify the contract. Blue Sky was to perform an "organizational review of the Office of Management Information Services." JJ could not find an approval for the contract in the 2014 minutes.
*June 19-20, 2014. The board votes 7-0 (on a motion by Rosemary Aultman) to approve a $98,500 consulting contract for Blue Sky. The term is July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. The contract was approved in executive session.
*August 21, 2014. Dr. Porter represents MDE at a meeting of the board of the Mississippi Information Technology Systems.
*January 15, 2015. The board votes 7-0 in executive session to hire Dr. Porter to provide consulting services to review the Office of Technology and Strategic Services for $96,454. The board voted 7-0 to hire Elton Stokes, Jr. for the same purpose for $93,009. Rosemary Aultman made all motions. Are you people getting all of this?
*May 21, 2015. FINALLY!!! The board votes 7-0 in executive session to hire Dr. Porter as the Chief Information Officer (Deputy Superintendent) at a salary of $195,000.
*Unknown date: MDE posts a position announcement for Deputy State Superintendent (Chief Information Officer). The salary range is $128,033-$224,058,80. The salary of $224,058 is 183% more than the Governor's salary of $122,160. State Auditor Stacey Pickering told Dr. Wright last week that state law limited the salary of a deputy superintendent to 150% of the Governor's salary. Earlier post with copy of State Auditor's letter. The notice directs "Applicants for the position must apply online at www.mspb.ms.gov. (Inquiries may be made to Dr. John Q. Porter, Interim CIO, at 601-359-3487.)"
Dr. Porter has a somewhat checkered past as he was run out of Oklahoma City and Montgomery County (Md). The Broad Report is a good place to start reading about his history.
Here are screenshots of his LinkedIn resume. Click on images to enlarge.
Mr. Stokes works for Dr. Porter at Blue Sky and followed the Wright train to Mississippi. This story is developing. Updates will be posted.