Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Madison County Food Fight

The Flora Harvester, Madison County blog, has a few comments to make about the lobbyist hired by the Madison County Board of Supervisors:

"In a WLBT report on the recently released Auditors report into Madison County Supervisors lack of oversight in billing practices of Engineer Rudy Warnock, Madison County Lobbyist Steve Seale acts as spokesman for Board of Supervisors President Tim Johnson. Did the additional $2500 a month he was recently given on top of his salary of $75,000 give him the responsibility to lobby the general public and the media, too?"

He made a few other comments and quoted some from the WLBT story only to find the lobbyist himself had a few comments of his own to make:

"Steve Seale said...
Call me, Harvester, and I would be answer your questions. Unless, of course, you don't prefer to stand up in public like I did. I'm interested to learn what your basis is for your statement that I'm overpaid. Do you judge that based on some return on investment criteria? Do you have some special expertise on the work of lobbyists that allows you to opine as to which are paid too little, just enough or too much? Or are you just like many others who make charges and accusations and offer opinions without any evidence or basis? You answer those questions, Harvester, and I'll be happy to answer yours. Steve Seale October 29, 2010 11:49 AM" see rest of the post

Mr. Seale, you raise a very good and salient point. I have no way of knowing if you are overpaid and it would not be fair for me to comment about your pay SO your comments inspired me to file a public records request for a copy of all of your contracts and invoices submitted to the county for payment.

Mr. Seale, since you are so eager to defend your hiring and provide us with the facts, why don't you save the county staff some time and simply provide me with what I requested yourself. I'll even come to your office to pick up the copies.


Paul Mitchell said...

i know someone that is NOT getting a Christmas card from Seale this year.

Anonymous said...

Seale must not read JJ with any frequency. The LAST thing you want to do is pique KF's "curiousity" to such an extent as he starts filing public records requests.

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea KF. I look forward to seeing the the FACTS and DOCUMENTS.

Anonymous said...

Have a close look at those contracts and you will find there are ZERO metrics for measuring an ROI. There are no listed deliverables. These county contracts are a bunch of BUNK.

Anonymous said...

You should ask for the same contracts for Barbara Blackmon while you are at it. Same thing.

Anonymous said...

What in the hell does a county need a lobbyist for anyway? Why should a county be spending taxpayer money on a lobbyist? Doesn't Madison County have plenty of representation in the legislature to handle all the counties needs without having to spend $100k+ to one of Tim's buddies? Better question - does the county even have the "authority" to spend tax dollars on a lobbyist? I'm sure KF will be on this issue long and deep. Sorry Steve, but your day just turned bad....

Anonymous said...

Seale seems to think that an opinion -- example: that he is overpaid -- should be backed up by facts, basis, evidence, etc. Seale, opinions are opinions, not legal arguments. A person's opinion just comes from their personal observation as seen thru their set of glasses. Expressing an opinion is not like presenting one side of a case in Moot Court.

Anonymous said...

KF, while you're at it, you might want to look for a quid pro quo benefit to any of the supervisors that might be a result of this excessive lobbyist contract.

Anonymous said...

Like him or not, Steve Seale is not afraid.

Anonymous said...

This guy Seale must be an idiot - does he realize the person he's insulting pays his salary? I don't talk to my boss that way, and I don't know anyone who does. Does his contempt for Madison County taxpayers represent the feelings of all the MadCo supervisors towards the taxpayers as well?

Anonymous said...

Lets see, Supervisors use taxpayer funds to pay a lobbyist to tell taxpayers their tax dollars are not being misused - when the county has just paid engineer $10 million. Great!

Anonymous said...

Looks like Tim Johnson can't explain to the taxpayers why engineer contracting is such a mess, so he uses tax dollars to pay a lobbyist to "explain" it.

Anonymous said...

I really can't wait to vote Mr. Tim Johnson out. The man does not realize to whom he is accountable.

Steve Seale said...

I don't regularly read blogs nor do I know Jackson Jambalaya, Harvester or Kingfish or any of the other bloggers/commenters personally or by name as most are identified as Anonymous or by some chosen nickname. I do try to respond when something is written about me that I disagree with or which I believe is based on a lack of information. Unlike those who choose to blog or comment that way, I comment and respond by name. What I do, what I say and my actions in support of the work I do for Madison County are done in the open and are subject to review and evaluation by any Supervisor at any time. My contracts with Madison County are very straightforward and much like those of lobbyists doing the same work at the federal and state level for their clients. Madison County is not unusual in this as there are counties and cities throughout the US which utilize lobbyists just as they utilize lawyers, engineers, accountants and other professionals to do certain work. My "deliverables" have been straightforwardly set out in numerous meetings of the Board and in regular progress reports I make to the Board in correspondence and at appearances before the Board. I believe the opinions offered by the bloggers/commentators are based on a lack of understanding about what I do to work to obtain state and federal funding for Madison County projects and to obtain information and advance policies which favor Madison County government and those served by the Board. As a lawyer, I am also bound by a professional code of conduct. I invite Kingfish or any other person with an interest to investigate the work I do on behalf of the county and to also consider the accomplishments. The commenter was right in that every opinion does not require facts or evidence. I was asking Harvester the basis for his opinion. If he/she doesn't have facts or evidence to back up such opinions, I give the opinion the credit it deserves. I am not trying to insult anyone. My contracts with Madison County have been approved by a 4-1 vote. This is a political process and opposition to my contracts has never been stated in anything but political terms. No, I don't know that the person I'm "insulting" by challenging what is said about me and my work is a person who pays my salary. I have offered to answer questions from anyone about my work once the person properly identifies himself/herself. I do that all the time before the Board and with each Supervisor including the one who votes against my contracts. I am happy to do it for any Madison County taxpayer as directed by the Board. I'll put my credentials to do the work and the results of my work up for review at any time. Nothing has ever been promised for my being paid for the work I do other than good, effective work which will produce results. At the point I am not able to produce such results, I expect my client to terminate my contract. I have also worked to bring Madison County officials, municipal officials and others with interest in progress in Madison County together in promoting the interests of Madison County to obtain state and federal funding and to lessen the negative effects of the political divisions as I believe that the failure to cooperate and work together impairs our efforts. I must admit I haven't been as successful in bringing all those interests together as I have hoped, but I will continue to try. I am not "afraid" because I do the job I am hired to do, I do it for a reasonable fee based on the work involved and because my work can be evaluated by the results produced.

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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.

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