Editorial: Stacey Pickering’s handling of DMR scandal undermines public confidence

State Auditor Stacey Pickering’s handling of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources scandal has led to waning confidence by many in the public and by this newspaper.

After months of investigation, Pickering recently made the first move to try to recoup some of the taxpayer money that was misspent at the DMR. Pickering settled a demand for more than $1 million against former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker for a quarter of that amount.

That episode involved the sale of the Californian and Topaz, two boats that figure prominently in Walker’s dual role as director of both a public agency and a foundation supposedly established to support it.

But rather than aggressively pursue Walker for the full amount the Auditor’s Office claimed he owed, Pickering let Walker walk away from the debt without even having him sign the paperwork that facilitated the sale of the boats.

Sun Herald
8/17/13