Friday, September 2, 2016

Governor: "It stops here".

Governor Phil Bryant told the Clarion-Ledger that he is doing something about "sexist behavior" in state law enforcement agencies:

Governor Phil Bryant says it's time for sexist behavior in state agencies to stop.

In a recent interview with The Clarion-Ledger, Bryant was livid about two recent cases within the Department of Public Safety in which settlements were paid out for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination.

"It stops here. It’ll stop at this office going forward with all executive agencies, with any power and influence I have over other agencies that are in the state," he said. "We have to take responsibility if things are going wrong and obviously there are things that have gone wrong, and what I can do now is help remedy those, but make sure people understand this better not happen again. And I think they’ve got that message. If they have not you’ll see some career-altering decisions that will be made."
 DPS settled for $75,000 with Penny Nichols Corn, a female employee claiming sexual discrimination and retaliation by Director Rusty Barnes at the Department of Homeland Security. She said she was passed over for promotion to deputy director of the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security because of her sex. She claimed that after she complained, her right to drive a DPS vehicle to and from work was revoked while two men who worked under her were still allowed to drive theirs. ...
MBN has asked a federal judge to allow public disclosure of the terms of the settlement of a sexual harassment complaint filed against the agency and former Deputy Director Mike Perkins, who resigned August 4th.
MBN, also a sub-agency of DPS, recently settled a lawsuit brought in 2015 by Mary Katherine Sullivan, then an MBN employee. She said she was subjected to sexual comments, dirty jokes and sexual propositions by Perkins and was refused salary increases. Her suit against DPS claimed there was a well-known "Perkins Scale," on which Perkins allegedly graded female MBN job applicants on their sexual desirability.

Oh really? Well, Governor, it's hard to take you seriously on this issue when you've done nothing about the problem despite years of reporting on this subject by this website. JJ reported three years ago that one female officer who works at one of the state law enforcement agencies put on a strip show for other agents present.  The good ole boys thought it was funny and allowed her to keep her job and rank.  Some readers said the letter was just stuff made up by disgruntled employees.

Next up is the Gayle McMullin case.  JJ broke that story on June 11, 2015: 

 A Leftenant at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety won a round in her battle to prove that Mississippi Highway Patrol Colonel Don Barry discriminated against her when he promoted Master Sergeant Marshall Pack to the vacated position of Training Director.  Plaintiff Leftenant Gayle McMullin is white while Colonel Berry and Master Sergeant Pack are black.  She argued -and two courts agreed- she was better qualified for the job.  U.S. District Judge Carleton Reeves dismissed her case with prejudice on a motion for summary judgment but the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Reeves and ordered him to hold a trial.

The case settled a year ago.   JJ reported a year ago that Penny Corn sued DPS for sex discrimination:

 A Mississippi Department of Public Safety employee sued DPS for sex discrimination and retaliation in U.S. District Court on August 10.  Penny Corn was the Grants Director for the Office of Homeland Security at DPS.  The department is currently fighting several discrimination lawsuits and complaints.

Ms. Corn began working at the DPS in September 2007, but is not a sworn law enforcement officer.  She sought a Deputy Director position in July, 2014, but alleges Homeland Security Director Everett "Rusty" Barnes said he would not consider her for the promotion because she was not a certified law enforcement officer and thus did not qualify for the position.  Ms. Corn told him being a sworn law enforcement officer "was not a qualification for the position" but the Director said "the men in the field would not respect her" because "she was a woman".....
DPS settled that case for $75,000 in April.  However, that is not the last of these cases.  JJ reported on July 18, 2016 that MBN settled a sexual harassment lawsuit: 

 Does MBN have a good ole boy culture of crude sexual jokes, harassment of female employees, and a dreaded "Perkins Scale"? that rates women based on looks? The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics settled a sexual harassment suit last month for undisclosed terms.  MBN Special Projects Officer Mary Katherine Sullivan sued MBN on September 4, 2015 for alleged acts of sexual harassment committed by MBN Deputy Director Mike Perkins.  Ms. Sullivan alleged in her complaint...

Mr. Perkins resigned when the Clarion-Ledger reported the settlement a few weeks later.  Then there is the case of  one Officer Redfruit. 'Nuff said about that one (The comments are gold.) 

Frankly, it is hard to take the Governor's comments seriously.  There is a culture of racism, sexism, and just plain dumbism at Mississippi state law enforcement agencies.  JJ has reported these stories since 2013 yet the Governor only takes action when gasp, the Clarion-Ledger reports them.   A tree apparently makes no sound unless the "state newspaper" reports it in his universe.   The good ole boys don't see anything wrong with the behavior that created these lawsuits.  They probably think it's funny and rates an 8 on the Perkins scale. The leadership at these agencies has been weak for quite some time.  Leaders are not held accountable. Complaints and lawsuits proliferate as basic HR principles are repeatedly ignored.  A criminal suspect probably has more protection than a woman working at these agencies. However, it is nice to see the Governor finally step up to the plate.  It remains to be seen if he will actually take a swing at the problem.


Anonymous said...

Nice. Is Feel trying to make up for the failure of his embarrassing and losing stand on HB1523?

Anonymous said...

Well he put these people in charge after being warned by several folks.

Anonymous said...

For his second stop, the Governor should set up a gill net at city hall. He'll catch a lot of fish - bass, carp, catfish, etc. Lesson #1 grasshopper - Never fish from your employer's pier.

Anonymous said...

So how do you and others have MS. Corns settlement amount? Both parties signed a non disclosure. What gives?

Kingfish said...

There is nothing in state law that exempts such settlement agreements from open records law. Then there is that ruling I got in my favor in the Motorola case on that settlement.

Anonymous said...

Talk is cheap. We keep hearing what the politicians will do but do not see much action.

Anonymous said...

The Gov. is conveniently late with taking action against his pet law enforcement agency- MHP and the two subordinate departments DHS and MBN. Why give them a free pass? Ole Phil as a former law enforcement officer is kinda late getting involved!

Anonymous said...

Feel's statement closely resembles Trump's recent grandiose speeches. Rather than the emperor with no cloths, we have the hick with no shoes.

Wink At It - We Got Money said...

It's a joke. This crap has been going on in state agencies for 75 years. Nothing slows it down. A few guys will get terminate and those in leadership positions will take to the podium and say the same thing Bryant said but nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

Feel Bryant: another in a long line of Dindu Nuffins in charge. That's what get's 'em elected! Got's to have the GOB vote to get anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Bryant will be remembered as this generation's Ross Barnett.

Anonymous said...

Astonishing, that someone so obsessed with GENDER, would start tough-talking about the evils of Sexism.

Anonymous said...

Would you rather have a governor who is a crook or an idiot? I'm not sure as both are pretty dangerous. In our case some would say that we have both. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Fill is on top of this. His new online questionnaire will eliminate all discrimination. What vision! Question? Would Fill have invested all this effort if the media had not sniffed out this settlement? Methinks not since he has known for a couple of years. Between millions squandered in various agencies and corruption by his appointees, ol' Fill is setting a new bar for failed administrations.

Nothing Will Change said...

No governor or agency head can 'stop' sexual harassment. They could hold a seminar every week from now till the end of time and there are always going to be managers (and others) who actually think (know in some cases) they can get away with it.

It's a 'blue in the face' thing, like telling teenagers to not have sex and telling people to not take shit that doesn't belong to them.

Some will get fired, some will get a check, some will be discriminated against as a result, a few might take heed. And lawyers will pocket their percentage.

Anonymous said...

Once again, why will he not fire Santa Cruz?

It's been a black cloud over his tenure his whole term and everybody knows it but Feel.

Anonymous said...

5:08. I agree. Feel is the worst Governor since Ross Barnett. A real embarrassment for MS bc he just can't seem to rise above his origins. We had made progress in our image before him but no longer. Lucian left and now he's worse. Feel will be remembered forever for not vetoeing HB 1523. It is an anchor that has irrovocably sunk his reputation into purest redneckism.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Fill is on top of this."

Fill ain't ner' been on top in his goofy-assed life.

Anonymous said...

8:11 you hit the nail on the head. Phil claims he is fed up and on top of this. Yet he has let the leadership blow smoke up his butt for a year or so while everyone knew this bullshit was going on. He didn't respond until the light was shined on these shenanigans. This is the same approach he took to misspending and other malfeasance that has occurred on his watch. This reminds me of those times when Andy left Barney in charge of Mayberry.

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point, Barnes' was not fired in response to Corn's lawsuit, that settled in April and was very much thought of as ancient history within DPS. While it seems convenient and helps to support the narrative that the governor is trying to create, it is patently false. Barnes wasn't dealt with by the Commissioner until he was presented with a pile of other improper/illegal activity by Barnes and his on-staff girlfriend. That folks is the truth. If Barnes was dismissed because of the Corn suit, why wait several months to dismiss him? And if this kind of activity isn't to be tolerated, why wait until the suit against Perkins settled, why not take of a well known and well documented issue before it rose to the level of litigation?

Santa Cruz has been providing top cover for all of these idiots and presents a real risk to the public trust. It's time to cut him loose Phil, what are you waiting for, another embarrassing and costly lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

this exposes what most government employees do all day long..... play grab ass and screw with fellow employees.

Mike Moore cousin Ceephus Moore said...

Bryant only puts people in place that he trusts, owes favors to, or one of his inner circle recommends. Look at his appointments? Good ol' boy hires.

Mississippi needs a Governor that seriously wants to get this mess fixed and is willing to appoint people that are not associated to them.

Anonymous said...

The heart of the problem is how men view women in Mississippi. A woman's value is tied to her husband's or father's status or her beauty. While women have more opportunities, particularly in professions, it's still a male dominated culture.
Worse, at least , Mississippi once provided some protection for wives , especially those with children, but that is no longer the case. Wives can no longer can even depend on sharing equally the assets accumulated in a marriage if a divorce takes place.
Women have gotten equal responsibilities but not equal rights and by that I mean the right to compete with men based on competence and ability when it comes to success in the work place.
This is not " human nature", this is cultural. In some parts of even this country, marrying a woman who is beautiful but dumb is seen a sign the male has no head above his waist! A smart man wants a wife that can understand him, be capable of giving him bright children he can trust her to raise competently , be a good sounding board and can have his back .
KF, what does it matter who is the " hottest" female reporter? Why not who is the best female reporter or even just the best reporter?

Anonymous said...

Mississippi needs a Governor that seriously wants to get this mess fixed and is willing to appoint people that are not associated to them.

Well then that completely disqualifies Conway Hood.

Anonymous said...

7:23, some people see a trophy wife as a sign of success. Some women use their looks to advance them in their chosen field.
Not a lot of men want a woman who stays home raising the kids. Some men do not want kids. Not a lot of women want to be stuck at home raising kids.

One thing that all men do have in common. We all enjoy looking at a "hot female".

Anonymous said...

Nobody should be surprised, executives such as the Governor always appoint people they know, trust and who can predict the moves of their enemies/competitors. Some choose well, and others poorly, we have all seen how Bryant's choice to retain Santa Cruz worked out and has cost the taxpayers $100,000 in just the past several months. If he would have asked a few people, he would have discovered that he should have replaced him after he was sworn in for his first term. But his loyalty to the inept leader of what could be argued is one of the most important departments in the state has cost Bryant a lot of credibility. But what does he care, he's not running for re-election?? Keeping Santa Cruz this long has been a real disappointment to the state and to the employees of DPS and shows pure selfishness in his unwillingness to admit a mistake.

Anonymous said...

10:45, unless your trooper redfruit

Mike Moore cousin Ceephus Hood said...

@ 9:10 AM

You mean "Twitty" Hood lol!

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