Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Plot Thickens

 Mississippi Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff Melissa Wade enjoyed a rather meteoric rise in her short career at the agency.  

The Chief began her state career in 2017 as an administrative assistant at the Attorney General's office at a salary of approximately $33,000.  She was promoted to program specialist, slightly increasing her salary to approximately $36,000. 

Ms. Wade arrived at MSVA on May 1, 2019 as a staff officer II, the classification for an administrative assistant.  Her salary was $49,785.  The salary rose to $51,254 sixty days later.  She hummed along for all of eleven months before her pay was raised to $56,380.  The salary gods smiled upon her again as her wages increased to $63,039 ninety days later.  

The administrative assistant moved up to the majors when she was promoted to Deputy Administrator Tier II on April 1, 2021.  The salary went up a third to $86,787.   The Chief of Staff enjoyed yet another raise to $98,330 on January 1, 2022.  

The MSVA Board held a special meeting Thursday and forced out Executive Director Stacey Pickering and Ms. Wade although they are still on the website.  One source said they are allowed to use leave time before resigning.  Deputy Director Mark Smith is currently managing daily operations of the agency.  









 

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Something rose alright

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any idea or any theories ? I think I do….

Anonymous said...

Anything with Veterans Affair (Federal or State) is crooked. Why I resigned after 30 years. They kept screwing over the Vets at any turn.

Anonymous said...

If the purpose of the veterans affairs board is to provide oversight of this agency, it appears they failed. The governor should ask the board to resign, they have been asleep at the wheel

Anonymous said...

Did he hit that?

Anonymous said...

Oldest occupation in the world. She earned every penny if that salary.

Anonymous said...

Convenient they let them resign and use leave. What do you have to do to get fired in this State?

Anonymous said...

A little hankey pankey and got caught. Your glorious state govt at work

Anonymous said...

From Secretary to Chief of STaff? sounds like our Vice-President

Anonymous said...

She must have been one heck of an admin assistant

Anonymous said...

Maybe now they’ll learn how to lock the door.

Anonymous said...

Is the administrative assistant position vacant? I am at another agency making $25k

Anonymous said...

@9:56 AM
Saying the N-word while white, will get you shit-canned expeditiously.

Anonymous said...

She must have been helping something go down, the way her salary was rising.

Kamala said...

You go girl.

Anonymous said...

"Hummed along?" Is that like a casting-couch?

Anonymous said...

In 36 months her salary increased by nearly $50,000 and no one on the board or at the agency raised an eyebrow?

Anonymous said...

She must have been really good at her job.

Anonymous said...

Dipping in the office inkwell will most always get you in trouble.

Anonymous said...

9:48 If I understand the meaning of something rose, didn't ole Chip have an issue with that as well?

Anonymous said...

Did she get false teeth with all of that loot? She and VP Harris probably get their knee pads from the same vendor.

Anonymous said...

Is Stacey any kin to Chip?

Anonymous said...

I will never forget the cussing Stacey Pickering laid on me for asking a simple question over the phone when he was auditor. I won't forget.

Anonymous said...

File that between T & A.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi's Kamala Harris.

Anonymous said...

"she hummed along"..... I see what you did there

Anonymous said...

9:51, everyone working for either that cares for the veterans leave pretty quickly. It is very hard to stay at a place that puts such a low price on people they are paid to help.

Anonymous said...

So? I'm private sector but make more than 98,330 a year.

Anonymous said...

She was raking in the money and raises. Aides and Nurses providing direct patient care during a pandemic were given a $1.00/hour raise. A whopping $10/hr for the aides. This should piss off all MS Tax payers and Veterans.

Anonymous said...

Retired Colonel Mark Smith is a stand up guy. Once Deputy Director at DHS and now Mississippi Veterans Affaires. He was my Commander at 210th Finance Mississippi National Guard. There’s is no man more honest and fair than Mark Smith. Even though he did not want DHS to approve my Military leave payment’s while away on duty. I still think he is one of the best Officers that served in the Mississippi Guard during my 36 year tenure.

WD

Anonymous said...

So does that mean the actual workers such as nurses, cnas, house keepers can actually get the raise they need and deserve

Anonymous said...

I wouldn’t exactly call making slightly less than six figures after 5 years a meteoric rise

Anonymous said...

@12:30 for the state it’s meteoric. The rise didn’t really start until she got to MSVA under Pickering. Most state employees make well below her 98k including several elected officials (and all of their staff). Two people, on two occasions walked into his office and caught them in the act. She got those raises because of her “performance”

Anonymous said...

Hummed along all right

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's only about a 25% increase per year.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a lot of jealousy and ineptitude on here. Fact is if the subject of your attack was a male you wouldn’t entertain these notions. But you’re all male chauvinists so I get it. You can’t imagine that she could have been actually good at her job. But you can’t get there mentally because you’re not that smart and it’s ok. There is a lot more to this story that’s not being told. It’s not being told because they would lose their footing to spew their hate and discontent.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting in that our current State Auditor, Shad White often opines about the brain drain Mississippi is experiencing. Why stay when all they see is corruption at all levels of government?

Anonymous said...

I’ve heard what the proof is. It’s one disgruntled former employee.. hardly credible. Politics is the rest

Anonymous said...

Given the fact that the state veterans homes pay the lowest nursing salaries in the state and that her tenure included the pandemic-when she was "working" from home for a solid 12 months, it is very meteoric. Let's screw the nurses during the health care crisis to give my girlfriend more money. Solid leadership. Shows what his priorities are, himself.

Anonymous said...

This whole think reeks. What is with the Board not commenting? What happened to transparency in government? Is the board's purpose to protect veterans or protect washed up politicians?

Anonymous said...

Ha, sounds like the same stuff that went on at MEMA! I’m sure it’s rampant in other state agencies. Probably more so than we think :(

Anonymous said...

@ 1:03 PM

Actually, I thought the proof was a report from a DPS Security Officer. Maybe he used to work at VA??

Anonymous said...

1:03 a board wouldn’t fire two of its top ranking officials based on someone’s word. That means there was proof or admissions.

Anonymous said...

153 you clearly don’t understand MS politics

Anonymous said...

What happened to the policy that all the higher jobs at MSVA had to be held by veterans? That was just thrown out the window. I know a maintenance director that retired after 23 years and only made 41,000$. The employees at the VA homes get paid the least of all , while they are doing all the work taking care of the veterans. Then to have a little hot pants move up the ladder and make $98,000 a year makes my blood boil. Yes I am a woman , so don’t even say , Oh if it were a man nobody would say a word. Some people work hard and put in long hours to get ahead , while she got there by other means. They should be fired !!!!! Then there are men there that play golf while supposed to be working that didn’t get fired , so what’s new.

Anonymous said...

How much embarrassment can a person cause and still be on the website? Is the website guy out of town or something? Release a statement, scrub the website, and move on like any competent organization.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the policy that all the higher jobs at MSVA had to be held by veterans? That was just thrown out the window. I know a maintenance director that retired after 23 years and only made 41,000$. The employees at the VA homes get paid the least of all , while they are doing all the work taking care of the veterans. Then to have a little hot pants move up the ladder and make $98,000 a year makes my blood boil. Yes I am a woman , so don’t even say , Oh if it were a man nobody would say a word. Some people work hard and put in long hours to get ahead , while she got there by other means. They should be fired !!!!! Then there are men there that play golf while supposed to be working that didn’t get fired , so what’s new.

Anonymous said...

249… careful your jealousy is showing. (Probably an Atty that thinks they should make more) your argument is with the board. They approve those things.

Anonymous said...

If more readers were state employees they could tell some good stories! The less tenured, know nothing, highest paid state employees come after every election and the change of Executive Directors, this is the norm.

If you think for one minute that tenure and knowledge play a part in promotion in the jobs that pay $50,000 and above you’ve never worked in state government.

Anonymous said...

They are still on the website because, as of today, they are still employees while they are using up their leave.

Yes, the agency could clean up the website by removing everything, but if they are going to list staff - these individuals are still staff and still in their positions, although without any authority to do anything, including probably coming into the building.

Don't jump on the organization, the 'website person' (which they probably don't have in-house but depend on either another part of state government or an outside contractor) for not doing things as you think any 'competent organization' would do.

Check yourself - as of today, who is the ED? Answer, Pickering and he is 'on leave'. Talk to the Asst Director. Chief of Staff - she is also 'on leave' but you can talk to xyz who is handling her duties.

This is not incompetence by the agency, its having to deal with the processes that those 'poor lill' ol' state employees' protective polices have that a private sector employer doesn't have to put up with.

Anonymous said...

4:12 - I've worked in state government, and made much more than $50,000. And it was based on my knowledge and experience. Granted, it wasn't based on tenure, because the agency head didn't base the promotion decisions on who was hanging around the longest just to get more time in the system, but rather who was actually working while they were there.

Sorry your 'tenure' hasn't gotten you much more than a good retirement pension and other benefits - maybe if you had worked at your job rather than bitch about those above you that see you for what you are. And aren't.

Anonymous said...

Isn’t it a crime to attempt to bribe a state law enforcement officer?

Anonymous said...

Don’t worry. There’s no chance our current auditor or his staff chief run into this predicament. They haven’t hit puberty yet ….

Anonymous said...

Good luck to Mark in this role.

Anonymous said...

Wait… I just reazlied who this woman is. She used to be a real estate broker/agent and recently served on the Pearl school board.

Anonymous said...

Any salaried employee whose salary triples in less that 5 years has experienced a “meteoric rise,” public or private sector. And for those who seem to think 100k a year is basically minimum wage for an office-job salary, you are delusional.

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/pittsburgh/news/college-graduates-unrealistic-expectations-first-year-salaries/

Anonymous said...

@4:12 Thank you for hitting the nail on the head with your spot on comment! If stairwells could speak.

@7:52 Reach across your shoulder & give yourself a pat on the back. Unlike you I don't judge, however I'd place a bet your co-workers just love working with you.

Anonymous said...

You'd be surprised how quickly people in public service get promoted. It's usually as simple as time in grade and meeting the education criteria.

Unknown said...

All of you guys suggesting that you have inside information, do tell..

Anonymous said...

It’s a shame when the executive assistant makes more than the nurses working directly with the veterans. Even before her “meteoric rise” she made more than the CNAs, LPNs, and most of the RNs who work for Veterans Affairs. Instead of trying to get the clinical staff’s pay to industry standards, more office jobs were created. This agency has one of the highest turn over rates in staff in their nursing homes because the pay is horrendous. The Board approved all of the new positions so they’re just as accountable as the ED.

Anonymous said...

Man, this thread is kind of hard core! I knew this woman as a real estate agent. Has about 5-6 kids. Pretty sure married. I do know that she somehow matriculated through college during her career with the State. Kind of frumpy for what is being suggested in my opinion. Could quite possibly have been a stellar employee--my experience with her was she had a strong work ethic.

Anonymous said...

https://www.msva.ms.gov/general-inquiries


Use your voice

Anonymous said...

I am in a leadership position at one of the Veterans Homes. I have resisted commenting because during a zoom on Friday when they told us Stacey and Mellisa resigned, they told us we would be fired if we talked about it. But this is ridiculous.

There were two people at the main office who cared about the Homes and made sure we had everything. Both left earlier this year due to this situation. The rumor is the Board sided to believe Pickering. Since then, the Homes have had no support. It's been years since Pickering has stepped foot in a Home except once a year when the monthly Board meeting is held at the Home. The Board meeting used to be twice a year at each Home but they started holding on the Coast some so I am told the vendors could take them to eat at Mary Mahoneys.

As for the Board. They never come to the Homes except for the meetings. Even then, they make a hard left towards the meeting room and leave right after. Never talk to staff nothing. We are without leadership and have been for a while

Anonymous said...

9:19 Yes!
@12:19 Umm, we need the info and details to file a justifiable complaint

Anonymous said...

12:47 The THEY, you referenced must be the board members or Mark Smith the Deputy Director. You said, they said, if you comment on the matter you will be fired! Bullshit!!! The hell with whoever said that stupid shit!

My comment, get rid of the board and fire all leadership and start from scratch!

I really dislike bureaucrats who do not help the Veterans that served this great Country!

J Carpenter/Gatewood said...

I am shocked & sickened by these accusations .. I dealt with Mr. Pickering while my husband was at the Veterans Home in Oxford … he came in and cleaned house to a bunch of snakes that worked there … we were there 3 years 11 months before my husband died … I personally witnessed abuse and cruelty by the staff especially the Administrator … nurses & aides had free reign to come & go at their leisure … Mr. Pickering came into the home on a regular basis and made things much better at the Oxford location. I am thankful we are out of there .. no matter what happens .. I am grateful that for the short time that we were at the home that Mr. Pickering was in leadership. I felt like someone cared about the veterans that had to live in those homes !

Anonymous said...

First time my “what do you want for Nurses Week” wish has actually been granted!


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