Wednesday, September 19, 2018

MBN Fails to Get Rid of a Sissy

A demoted Captain at the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics will regain her rank as well as back pay after the Mississippi Employee Appeals Board ruled she was improperly demoted.  The demotion cost Tammy Reynolds $48,000 per year.

Ms. Reynolds was a Captain at MBN.  A former employee accused her of pilfering psuedoephedrine from MHP drop boxes for unused prescriptions.  MBN ordered the Captain to submit to a drug screen.  She stated on the drug screen form that she was taking a prescription drug.   MBN suspended her.  However, Ms. Reynolds didn't take her suspension lying down but instead lawyered up - with Anthony Farese.

Captain Reynolds passed her MBN drug test.   She also passed a drug test she took later that day at North Mississippi Medical Center.  MBN also obtained her prescription records.  However, her travails did not end as MBN initiated a quiz into whether she took items from the drop boxes. 

She said she was being "asked to recall incidents that happened over ten years ago" and was answering to the best of her ability.   MBN said she made false statements.  She failed a polygraph test BUT MBN later admitted that it improperly scored the test.  However, MBN nailed her anyway because, get ready for this, she took not one, but TWO packets of Biofreeze from a first-aid kit in an MBN tech room. Biofreeze is a lotion sold for sore muscles and joint pain.  No prescription is required.  It can even be purchased on Amazon and at Rhodes Chiropractic Clinic in Pearl.

MBN conducted a due process hearing for the accused after serving her with a pre-disciplinary action notice.  Captain Leigh Cochran didn't muffle the charges but instead said that Captain Reynolds "provided inaccurate information" regarding the Biofreeze.  Captain Cochran  charged her with misconduct, impropriety, breach of integrity, giving false statements, and insubordiation.

MBN demoted Ms. Reynolds from Captain to  LE Agent V and removed her from the DEA task force.  These actions reduced her salary by $48,000.  MBN Director John Dowdy the Sissy first wanted to terminate her but relented.

The Employee Appeals Board took one look at this so-called quiz and said enough is enough.  The Board called a strike against MBN when it pointed out that Captain Reynolds' accuser was not called to testify.  So much for confronting accusers and cross-examining evidence.  This is what passes for due process in the Sissy's MBN.  The Board said the demoted Captain did not provide false statements to MBN:

Reynolds' statements to DPS investigators as well as her statements during the polygraph examination were not found to be "false statements" by MBN hearing officer Captain Leigh Cochran. Cochran in her report, called Reynolds' statements "inaccurate." Cochran obviously picked up on the fact that Reynolds was being asked to recall incidents that may have happened a decade ago or even more. This tribunal finds that as did Captain Cochran, that Reynolds did not provide false statements during the investigation and while her statements may have been inaccurate, she was in no way intentionally lying during the MBN investigation. When someone is asked to recall incidents that happened many years ago with accuracy, it is very hard for anyone to do so with exactness.  Apparently MBN as well as the Mississippi Department of Public Safety has a policy and procedure of routinely threatening employees with "being placed on the box." This tribunal recognizes that polygraph examinations are routinely used around the country as investigative tools. However, there is a difference between investigating someone outside of an agency for criminal activity and investigating one of its own agents. When a polygrapher asks a question such as "have you ever done anything unethical in the last twenty (20) years?" this places the person being polygraphed in a very awkward position. This kind of test question has no right or wrong answer and the individual being polygraphed is simply left to make a guess at an answer. Reynolds' interview and polygraph examination with DPS followed along these same lines in that she was being asked to recall facts that occurred many years with accuracy. 
Ouch.  The Board predictably overturned almost everything done to Captain Reynolds by MBN:

It is the finding of this tribunal that Reynolds did not give false statements in the investigation of a possible violation of Mississippi State Personnel Board policies and procedures. The Group III offense in this regard is overturned due to the fact that Reynolds' statements may have been inaccurate, but they were not knowingly false. Likewise, the finding that Reynolds violated MBN General Order 1-15 11A for "making a false statement" is likewise overturned.
The finding of a minor offense for taking the two packets of biofreeze from the tech room was upheld.  However, the Board made short work of this finding as well:

But was the punishment of Reynolds too severe?   If an agent removes two extra strength aspirin from a first aid kit, should that agent be demoted several ranks and lose $48,000 annually in compensation?   After three days of testimony, all that MBN proved was that Reynolds took a couple of items from  the first aid kit in Guntown, Mississippi. 
 The Board ordered MBN to reinstate Captain Reynolds to her rank and restore all back pay and benefits.  This is not the first time that the Department of Public Safety or one of its agencies has tried to fire someone for the grave offense of actually taking prescription medications for which one has a prescription.  The Board ordered DPS in February to reinstate a trooper it fired for taking his prescription medications after he had major hip replacement surgery after the Board determined DPS lied when it fired the trooper.


Anonymous said...

MBN must have really wanted to put somebody else on the DEA task force to try and railroad an employee over two packets of Biofreeze that cost less than $1.
I hope Farese enjoys his payday.

KF - I know I've asked this a few times, but is there a register of settlements and/or pending litigation against DPS available (I imagine there is, but Warren Strain will concoct some BS reason not to release it). Mismanagement like this costs taxpayers real money, it would be nice to know exactly how much.

PittPanther said...

What is wrong these people? Why are they so gung-ho to fire fellow officers for very minor issues? Using something from the first-aid kit? Taking my in prescription medication?

What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Threatening employees with process violations rather than substantive offenses indicates targeting - with her background in emergency medicine and diversion, perhaps she knows something about the steroid epidemic at DPS and they wanted to keep her from sharing that information with the feds...just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Ms Reynolds I would like to congratulate you on your sweet sweet justice. May you thoroughly enjoy every minute of it....

Anonymous said...

Steroid epidemic? I thought it was lots of weightlifting and eating right that got them all big!

Anonymous said...

Could this be just a small bit of the reason 31 agents have been lost the last 2 years.

Anonymous said...

There was another key element that was left out of all this info. Another issue that surrounds the MBN Director, that was put to light during this court hearing was that the Director was found to have Giglio issues (federal court term used as being dishonest). Mr Farese confirmed this during the hearing. A question I would like to ask is Why someone be appointed to a position like this that is labeled as no integrity with the court system. Seems to me that any court document he is involved in is a bad case. Looks to me that any wiretap that he was involved in would be bad. This may be the reason that there hasn’t been any. Seems like the good ole boy political appointment is still in effect. The Director was trained by the former late Commissioner George Phillips. In saying that you can figure the rest out.

Anonymous said...

"The Sissy" graduated next to last in his Ole Miss law school class. Were his dad not Wayne, he would be doing TV lawyer ads....not like Schwartz but for menial shit.

Anonymous said...

So, now Wayne Dowdy has pull? Bullshit!

I'm willing to acknowledge that this whole thing was a circus but am not sure why Dowdy-The-Younger is called 'sissy'. What am I missing that we should know?

Anonymous said...

Skeletons are coming out of the closet! Well deserved victory Captain Reynolds!!

Anonymous said...

Ole Miss Law has no class rankings that are public.

Giglio is a federal case that defines certain discovery that the government must supply under certain circumstances to the defendant. A prosecutor can not provide this discovery on belief it is not required and then have the Judge rule him wrong. That doesn't make the prosecutor "dishonest" without a finding of willful misconduct.

MBN has been a train wreck for many, many years. Nobody seems interested in cleaning it up.

Anonymous said...

I thought Frank Melton cleaned it up.

Anonymous said...

How’s that “change” working out for you all ? Well I guess for the precious swat boys it’s nice, as for the agents that make the cases, well look at the number of people leaving. Seasoned agents jumping ship as fast as they can, Allison is holding the door open for anyone that doesn’t buy into her agenda. Everyone walking around on egg shells unless they are one of the cool kids driving a new Tahoe. MBN was once a great place to work now thanks to a few coast rats it’s gone to the lawyers. It will never recover this time. I know you are all saying we survived Melton and Strange but they have pushed it to a point that it cannot recover this time not with the leadership in place now. You cannot even look at the top two without wanting to puke if you get to see them since they have the secret office in Hattiesburg that no one knows about. Can the legislators please wake up and help the agents, can you please talk to an agent that actually works and has not been coached on what to say for fear of the chief legal “subject matter expert” there is a hostile work environment brewing here and the people are drowning and you’ve officially turned your back on them shame on you governor and Marshall Fisher you should be ashamed, you left MBN and went to MDOC and sold the Troops out by putting these two clowns over the agency.

Anonymous said...

5:54. Head. Get out of ass. BS. Easily obtained. Dowdy graduated NEXT TO LAST in his class at Ole Miss. God knows where had he have gone to a top level law school....err....sorry. He would have never been accepted.

Anonymous said...

Leigh Cochran. Charged someone with impropriety. If you are in the know, you won't stop laughing for a month.

Kingfish said...

She has the Midas touch.

Anonymous said...

She won’t last long they will find another way. Troopers,MBN and MBI are run by a bunch of high school graduate thugs. It needs to be dismantled and send the money to cities and counties to cover what these agencies currently cover.

Anonymous said...

Isn't MBN where many of the Snake Grabbers work?

Puttin' A Pencil Tuit.. said...

If, as the headline says, a 'demotion cost her $48,000 a year' would it not also be true that back when she got a promotion, it raised her pay almost $50,000? What kind of promotion in state government does THAT?

Anonymous said...

I'm with 12:48, I want to see the list of settlements and pending lawsuits against DPS. It appears that this would show a complete picture of how incompetent and discriminatory the leadership is.

Anonymous said...

dowdys nickname, which he hates, is howdy-dowdy, a take off on howdy doody, the 1960s television cowboy clown character . hey, he looks just like him. if you gonna tag people with the term of "sissies" , you better be ready to suck it up yourself.

Anonymous said...

Watch out. Witch Hunt will begin. Polygraphs will begin. Agents will be told to line up and get on the box if they say anything negative on this post! HAHA. Congrats Tammy and thank you for standing your ground...…….

Anonymous said...

@ 1:43 - you're assuming that the job she was demoted TO is the same job she was orginally promoted FROM. There is no basis for that assumption. More likely, she rose GRADUALLY through the ranks to the rank of Captain over the course of several years, with each step providing a GRADUAL increase in salary. Then, the demotion PROBABLY took her all the way to the bottom....thus the jump all the way BACK to the top....where she should have been all along.

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to remember that this is Marshall’s kingdom. DPS and MDOC belongs to him and he is running then into the dirt. Thanks Feel.

Anonymous said...

These lawsuits are getting completely out of hand. KF, did you know that one of your articles is being entered into evidence by the defendant in one such lawsuit? Hahaha! That’s got to have the lawyers freaking out.

Anonymous said...

10:12 - the figure stated throughout this post most likely includes the overtime pay from DEA. Adding task force officers (TFOs) is an easy way for federal agencies to acquire additional manpower for roughly 25% of the cost of a full-time federal employee. And, most TFOs know more about the community than transplants from a field office in another state. The program is incredibly effective and results in better prosecution.

Anonymous said...

10:12 - I asked a legitimate question regarding her loss in pay and you told me I had no basis for my assumption. Then you launched off into a speculative post of your own...with no basis for your assumption. I see how you work.

I have no idea how this particular agency does things, but, my experience in state government is that when an employee is demoted in rank/grade, he/she goes to the same pay in the lower grade or to the top step in the lower grade, never to the beginning step in the lower grade. But, again, we don't have that information.

Anonymous said...

FYI - Puttin' A Pencil Tuit! You get a promotion like that when you have 20 years experience and run circles around your peers wise ass! When you walk yourself across the line of protecting others and families in your community, please feel free to speak up! Until then, maybe you should sit your pie hole!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes Giglio has a definition and is a court case regarding discovery but the discovery that you have to turn over is your dishonesty, integrity flaws that you have been caught at doing. Anyone that knows about Giglio and federal court knows that if you have Giglio issues that the courts wants no part of you. That’s why the director had to leave the US Attorneys office. Mr Farese had to get the court to note that the Director refused to answer his question, which was “are you Giglio”. After the second time and being as white as a sheep he finally said yes. The Governor appointed an un ethical man to a position of leadership because of a “good ole boy” promotion. What happened though was no one expected for anyone to find out about the Directors hidden problems. The deputy director and Director made acquisitions to DEA not to show up to testify. Threatened to pull MBN out of their Task Forces but Mr Farese is way to smart and had to go over their heads to get DEA to testify, which gladly did. They have the worst admin in that Agency that I can ever remember.

Anonymous said...

This Admistration digs in Agents past!! Guess it makes Director Hoody Dowdy feel better, so.heat is not on him...well, sir you need to look no further than your Deputy!!! He has past of Domestic, using state vehicles for gain... trucks for yard work, affairs with people under his commmad... oh wait he your Enforcer... while you and Queen Chief of Staff can pillow talk on ways to get him, your loyal SWaT and New Tahoe’s can protect and deliver you to town hall meetings to strut around , run to mouth and show off your wranglers. MBN should be remember bed from State Government and put on TV as a Soap .

Anonymous said...

Haave I missed it but what was her salary before -$48K?

Anonymous said...

What is all blacked out on page 10 and where are the transcripts KF?

Anonymous said...

Yes yes the transcripts would be nice. Then you would see that all the information that is being opened up is true I can promise that.

Dean said...

This is so sad MBN was a great agency in the years past. I retired from DPS and the whole agency has become so corrupt during the last two Governors. For DPS and the sub agencies of MHP, MBN, Homeland to become better, cleaner the Legislature needs to create a board for oversight and remove it from Governors control. No one likes the sound of a State Police but if done right it could work better than the DPS model. But it wont happen because the Sheriffs and Police chiefs will resist it as they don't want any oversight. Even the Legislature is scared of a true law enforcement agency that could be free of political influence and power. (Who would drive them home when they are drunk)
Break the glass and Bring back David Huggins as Commissioner and he would clean up the mess yet another time.

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