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Miss. Department of Marine Resources Looking to Gain Back Trust

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Knox Graham

BILOXI, Miss.–The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources on Tuesday released their internal assessment on the coast.

They’ve been under investigation on several fronts for possible misspent money and resources under its previous leadership.

New director of the DMR Jamie Miller unveiled his 60-day assessment findings on Tuesday as to where the department needs to head in the future.

“When I was appointed executive director of MDMR, I acknowledged the challenges facing the agency and understood they must be addressed,” Miller said. “The challenges include restoring the public’s trust in MDMR and the credibility of the agency to prove that it’s capable of carrying out its mission while being accountable with taxpayers’ money.”

Key findings of the 60-day Agency Assessment document highlight the following deficiencies at MDMR:

 •        Outdated policies and procedures that are inconsistent with current laws and regulations, as well as current practices within the Agency;

•        Inadequate reporting to the Commission for appropriately fulfilling their oversight responsibilities;

•        Inadequate or non-existent oversight over key functions and departments, including grant management and compliance;

•        Lack of communication and appropriate training throughout the Agency;

•        Lack of consistent and transparent communication with the public; and

•        Inadequate internal control structure, as well as related assessment and monitoring activities, which are non-compliant with current DFA requirements.

“The challenges we have at MDMR will not be fixed overnight, but today, I am providing a comprehensive update on MDMR action,” said Miller in the Tuesday press conference.

The DMR has already seen its contract employees shrink from 32 down to 16 and there have been changes in organizational structure and personnel responsibilities aimed at reducing the above problems.

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