The word is that at least three of the hand picked henchmen of former NOAA law enforcement Director Dale Jones and Deputy Director Mark Spurrier are set to retire soon. None of the three met the law enforcement age requirement when hired. None completed NOAAs federal law enforcement training requirements, and none were required to meet medical standards for federal agents. All three did however play questionable rolls and were involved to some extent in the shenanigans that led to the removal of Jones and Spurrier from NOAA law enforcement.
Remember the three monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil? Well you can be sure these three saw and heard plenty. As far as speaking about it even the OIG can’t get it out of them and NOAA does not seem likely to compel them to tell the truth. As is evident, despite all our elected representatives and the OIG can do. Jones and Spurrier are still around, both transferred to other lucrative government positions. Terrible punishment indeed.
Assistant Director Mark Paterni according to the OIG even refused to answer questions about the unauthorized if not illegal shredding of documents. Mark Spurrier gave conflicting if not false statements on the topic. Why did NOAA keep them all around and in fact insure that all continued employment at high-level positions and salaries? You can draw your own conclusions and I expect you will be correct.
Assistant Director Mark Paterni, Southwest Regional Special Agent in Charge Donald Masters, and Southeast Regional Special Agent in Charge Hal Robbins it seems have finally been show the door (retire or ?). Rather than face up to the long list of NOAA law enforcement managers that have run-a-muck over the ten year unsupervised and out of control power grab of former Director Dale Jones, NOAA hopes that these three will drift quietly away. Andrew Cohen the now retired Northeast Regional Special Agent in Charge that caused the red flag for NOAA law enforcement’s corrupt actions in the first place did the same thing. Does NOAA hold anyone accountable for corruption or do they all get a free ride?
The Southeast Region Special Agent in Charge Hal Robbins it seems has been sent packing before yet he was still deemed “most qualified” for this high level position by Dale Jones and Mark Spurrier. According to an Annapolis Maryland news paper Robbins was “shown the door” before and quickly left his Chief of Police position by posting his resignation on the bulletin board and sneaking out the back door. Why was he selected for the NOAA position in the first place? He had no fisheries experience, did not meet the age, medical, or training requirements and had a history of questionable law enforcement service in his past. Now we find that he and the others just happen to choose to retire at the same time. It can boggle the mind.
In addition we find now that several of the newer NOAA Special Agents have come forth, provided information, and are complaining that Hal Robbins has made it his quest to speak openly and advise younger NOAA agents to get out of the agency. Further that NOAA LE it is all messed up (it is understood that he did use the word messed) and the NOAA management is out of control. Robbins seems to be making efforts to influence an exodus of employees from NOAA LE. I don’t think Robbins will be leaving with fond memories.
How about this for a yet considered approach NOAA. Take the responsibility yourself and clean up your own mess. Despite all that has happened no one has been punished for this waste, fraud, and abuse of the system they swore to protect. I bet if a fishermen had been apprehended with two fish over the limit or maybe a permit violation he would have been pounded like a ten-penny nail. How many others are you protecting despite the recommendations of the OIG? People like Michael Fry, will he every be required to attend federal law enforcement training or meet the medical and age requirements? Will he be just another NOAA free ride on the taxpayer?
The watchdogs are out NOAA and Congress is listening. You will continue to be under the microscope. Already we hear rumblings of how you plan to pre-select your next law enforcement Director, sounds a lot like the old NOAA law enforcement. What happened to the transparency and new beginnings? No more higher education requirement sounds fishy. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation? It might go something like this.
US Coast Guard Admiral: I attended the US Coast Guard Academy and was in the top ten percent of my class!
Director of Law Enforcement for the US Fish and Wild Life Service: I attended one of the top colleges in the country and was elected president of my senior class!
NOAA Fisheries Director of Law Enforcement: Oh me? I attended Little Town high school and was second team shortstop on the co-ed softball team. I never finished school however but did get my GED later.
Silence and disbelief.
NOAA Fisheries Director of Law Enforcement: You want more? Well when I found out that I could be the director of NOAA Fisheries Law Enforcement with out any degree I figured, what the hell and here I am. Looking back I think it was the softball thing that put me over the top.