Friday, May 20, 2016

State Auditor: Dr. Wright overpaid Deputy & violated the law

State Auditor Stacey Pickering told State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright that the hiring of Deputy State Superintendent John Porter at a salary of $195,000 per year violated the law in a letter on May 18.  The Mississippi State Personnel Board notified Mr. Pickering of the violation after Mr. Porter's salary appeared on this website Monday.   The letter is posted below.

Mr. Pickering stated that the law prevents any employee in the executive branch from earning a salary greater than 150% of the Governor's salary.  Governor Phil Bryant's salary is $122,160 per year. The maximum salary allowed under Section 25-3-91(1) of the Mississippi Code is $183,240.  The State Superintendent of Education is exempt from that salary restriction but the State Auditor and MSPB said the restriction applies to MDE employees.  Mr. Pickering said his office will move to recover all overpayments to Mr. Porter and recover from Dr. Wright's bond if necessary.


Anonymous said...

As an aside, I took note of those board members copied on distribution. I'm fairly astute and try to keep up, but I have never heard of a single one of these people.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry. I do see the name of the former mayor of Clinton.

Anonymous said...

That is it leave on your own or jail time.

Anonymous said...

If you can not follow the law sure should not be running a huge state agency spending public money.

Anonymous said...

Oh my my. That poor DC liberal. She must have thought she was still in....Maryland or DC or wherever she came from. Bet she wishes she was back there. Las Vegas odds says she resigns in the next 72 hours. If she had not pulled the Obama Trany stuff they might have forgiven her for the salary fiasco - not now no way no how. She's done.

Anonymous said...

The current state elected officials and good old boy network of school administrators will not be happy until a good old boy gets the job of the current state super tenement. Then all of the recent improvements and qualified MDE personnel can be shelved in favor of how it use to be- dumb, happy and satisfied to be last.

Anonymous said...

The real question is how did the state auditor not catch this sooner. Should there not be controls in place for authorization of salaries in excess of the governor's? Something that triggers an automatic review? The state surely can't be hiring that many high earners every year.

Anonymous said...

Board member Bill Jones is a lawyer, former legislator (Democrat appointed by our last Governor ?/!)

I am guessing Bill knew this was in violation of law, I wonder how he voted on this item.

Anonymous said...

At least one of the members is a real teacher who is in the classroom every day. Bet she doesn't make a fourth of what they are paying that person.

Anonymous said...

At least one of the members is a real teacher who is in the classroom every day. Bet she doesn't make a fourth of what they are paying that person.

Anonymous said...

MDE Administration. State Board of Education. MDE HR Director. Lawyers from the Attorney General's Office on staff at MDE. A lawyer and former legislator on the SBE. And Dr. Porter still got his $195,000.

Dang, those checks and balances!!

Anonymous said...

Any idea which num-nut legislator that Feel is going to appoint as DFA director? I assume qualifications will include IQ of a mid-level 7th grader like our new Tax Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

The lackey who filed the airport bill, of course.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. Huge, huge story. Huge.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it is time for a change of board members at the State Board of Education. The existing group merely rubber-stamps items brought forth.

Wright's Wrong said...

6:19 suggests:

"Then all of the recent improvements and qualified MDE personnel can be shelved..."

Please list one or two 'recent improvements' and the personnel of whom you speak.

The current 'woman in charge' has turned the place into her personal employment office and rubber stamper of all things liberal. The combination of her support for both Common Core and The Obama Pee Policy alone should be sufficient to get her an Amtrak ticket outa here.

If she is allowed to rack up eight total years under the PERS system, her legacy lasts around here forever.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't approval have to go thru the state personnel board?

Anonymous said...

Post the salaries of all state agency employees and you will find much of the same! Nothing new, " we're from the Government and we're here to help you"! Yea right, themselves.

Anonymous said...

Probably exempt positions not subject to SPB regulations.

Anonymous said...

@11:27 - read the previous post about the exemption.

Anonymous said...

What is so hard for people to understand? There are people who are so much smarter then us that they deserve to be paid higher pay. We need these people to make the decisions that we are too dumb to make. After all they do know what we really need. People like that do not work for free. I would imagine they put in many hours making the decisions we are not equipped to make. Who are we to question anything they say?

Anonymous said...

12:10; It's not so much an 'exemption' as it is hundreds of positions that are simply excluded from SPB coverage. You can call it an exemption if you like and technically, it is an exemption. There are hundreds of positions in State government that aren't subject to SPB oversight and salary regulation. Nor do those incumbents answer to any sort of performance evaluation or review.

Agency heads can slide political favorites into these positions at a whim. Without oversight. Without review. Without approval. Without qualifications. Without jack-shit.

Parking Space Up Front said...

Haley was the master of all masters when it came to creating and populating exempt positions. His favorite was Hot-Lips-Hoolihan-Finch. She had a Steelcase desk on a tandem-axle trailer and would show up at some agency on a random Monday morning ready to work.

Anonymous said...

While I don't think anyone would say that a review/audit of employee compensation is all out unwarranted, one of the biggest challenges the state faces when trying to find the best talent to staff positions in these agencies is - in fact - the state personnel board. I won't say what work that I previously did for the MDE, but can say in full confidence that the staff at the MDE, the legislators I worked with while in the State, and district staff across the state would all agree that I was absolutely qualified to do the work that I did in the state. However, even with two Master's degrees and a PhD I would not have been qualified to fill a permanent employee position that I served in as a contract worker. So, even though I clearly had a unique skill set, of value to the State there would be no way for me to be on boarded without MDE having a variance in the hiring procedures.

I can't imagine that I am alone in believing that if I consistently surpass expectations in my job performance it will be reflected in compensation, but state employees (without legitimately applying for positions that require significantly more responsibility and different types of duties) are rarely given this incentive to do well. In other words, if there is absolutely no hope that being more productive and doing better work will lead to better compensation, where is the incentive to do better?

I would also push back on some of the comments about not requiring any kind of qualifications - although I fully acknowledge that there will always be cases that get through. While I'm not a part of any of the stuff in the news at the moment, I can tell you that my credentials were vetted multiple times before I was brought on. In addition to the normal processes that are in place, I spent a day interviewing with several teams throughout the building that I would be working with to see how well I would fit in and how well I would respond to the needs of Mississippians. Prior to that my credentials were vetted multiple times, by several agencies. And after all of those processes, the board still had the opportunity to check my credentials and weigh in on whether or not I would be brought in to work with the MDE.

Again, I'm not going to say nothing bad has ever happened at the MDE nor will I say that there shouldn't be reviews and audits of compensation/salary for positions there. But I will say that the rules imposed by the State Personnel Board are partly to blame for a lot of the issues that everyone here has raised about the quality of the staff working in these agencies. There isn't much an agency can do when some of the screening/requirements that SPB mandates in job postings have absolutely nothing to do with the job/duties and force otherwise qualified candidates to be turned away.

Anonymous said...

The way it was explain to me is that a contract worker position is usually filled by a retiring person who still wants to work. This way the worker can quit working for the state, still collect all of the bennies, and return to work the next day with a very large raise. The position usually has no benefits but the worker still has benefits provided by the state from their retirements. Since the state pays no benefits and it is contract work it the money paid to the employee does not have to be carried like a normal state employee. There is no limit on the amount paid.
Just another way for some special people to suck up the tax payers dime without it showing up as an employee.

I'm Tops In My Mind, She Says said...

6:40; I'm glad you managed to get on-boarded. Before you were on-boarded what was your position with a school system?

Since you've gone to great lengths to assure us that you're qualified, well respected and highly valued, will you also assure us that upwards of 70% of the people in the building were NOT retreads who either could not make it in the education trenches, those whose licenses had been recently reinstated after revocation or those who had managed to get themselves either terminated or slid off to the side and forgotten in a school district? The only alternative to those three possibilities is a contract position into which retired or failed educators are on-boarded.

You managed to get yourself on-boarded into a non-state-service or non-status SPB PIN position which is basically exempt from oversight and control by SPB.

In the midst of wallowing around in your value and superior qualifications, you seem to know very little, if anything, about the process of writing job descriptions and tailoring requirements to the duties of jobs.

Anonymous said...

11:29 you can't retire one day and return the next as a contract employee. There is at least a 90 day window and some state institutions are now requiring 180.

And, while laws should be followed it seems so far that Dr. Porter is worth his salary. He has been charged with dragging MDE into the 21st century. Skilled data and tech people don't come cheap, and in addition to that he will be overseeing the new improvement districts. If he can do all of that well he will be worth every penny. Why is it that it is OK for people in other professions who are well educated and have decades of experience to make good salaries, yet those in education aren't supposed to? The education reps in private industry that are selling things to districts are certainly making heavy duty salaries and those companies have been siphoning off many of the best people in the public sector because the salaries are better, and you aren't constantly being accused of being lazy and sucking off the public tit.

Under The Radar Much? said...

10:02 - You are correct in your opening several sentences. However, MDE is heavily laden with contract workers who got into the double-dip-system before this rule was adopted. Why do you think the rule was put in place in the first place?

Since you brought it up, loading up the place with 'skilled data and tech' people is precisely the problem. We needed five hundred people to stamp letters on the foreheads of children and another 500 to count those letters and sort them into columns.

Anonymous said...

I attended school before the Education Bureaucracy Complex was created. I did fine and learned. We have way too much bureaucracy in education today. Past Superintendents are on the "consulting" payroll and are double dipping. Just eliminate all this, pay teachers more and buy them adequate supplies.

Anonymous said...

10:02, you can try to get people to believe it but I have a friend who did retire one day and return the next day as a contract worker for an additional $40,000 a year. Of course they will try to say it can't be done but those are the ones who are trying to cover it up or those who did not get the contract worker job. Maybe you need to kiss a little more butt or try to hide it a little better.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the state superintendent make around $300k/yr or something like that? If they give me the job I will screw it up just as bad but for 1/2 the cost! There! Easy way to save the state some $$$

Anonymous said...

"And, while laws should be followed it seems so far that Dr. Porter is worth his salary. He has been charged with dragging MDE into the 21st century. Skilled data and tech people don't come cheap, "

Uh, IBM just announced layoffs of 14,000 Americans (while importing H1B visa hires).

I bet that "data and tech" ability is getting more affordable every day in this country :-(

Anonymous said...

Memory of the day when the so called cleansing started here is the link to Ch 16 news.

As far as Anonymous May 23, 2016 12:46 comments, Porter has no university degree in Technology and his history is not appealing. In my view he does not deserve a penny of my tax dollars.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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