Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gossip and rumors and..., oh my!

Tony Messenger, the conspiracy theorist

Messenger wrote here at his blog (see Blunt's moving target):

"He (Matt Blunt) said that the state would not condone one of its employees doing private legal work while employed by the state. But that is a direct contradiction to the very letter given from chief of staff Ed Martin to Eckersley when he was fired."

From the letter Aubuchon wrote to Tony Messenger:

"Scott Eckersley was terminated for cause on September 28, 2007, after months of performance related problems...."

"On September 22, 2007, the decision was made to do a full investigation of Eckersley and his conduct...."

"On September 26, 2007, I presented preliminary results of my investigation to Ed Martin and Henry Herschel. I had found that Eckersley has used state resources to do private business for a health care company. This included time away from the office for meetings, emails to and from his state account for the business, and use of state telephones for meetings. This work was unauthorized and Eckersley used his position in state government to the health care company's advantage...."

"On Friday, September 28, 2007, Martin and Pryor met with Eckersley to discuss his departure. Although there were numerous grounds for termination for cause, the two hoped to talk to Eckersley and see if he might want to resign...."

"Eckersley was terminated that day by certified letter."

"Please understand that space allowed by this letter is limited and only allows the above enumerated instances. There are other instances that contributed to his termination."

Aubuchon also noted:

"This is a regrettable series of events in which a young man has lost his way and has likely become a pawn in political attacks." (*ahem*)

The letter was signed by Richard Aubuchon, Deputy Commissioner/Chief Counsel.

Aubuchon attached a letter sent from Edward R. Martin, Jr., Chief of Staff, to Scott Eckersley. The letter communicates:

"With this letter, I am terminating you for cause...."

"Also, you misused state resources to conduct business on behalf of your brother and your father. (See attachment 2) I believe that Henry Herschel authorized de minims assistance to family and friends but not to the extent that you have admitted and your emails indicate."

You can find these letters in the side bar of Tony Messenger's recent article Attorney speaks out about being fired

So, why Tony Messenger writes about Matt Blunt...:

"He said that the state would not condone one of its employees doing private legal work while employed by the state. But that is a direct contradiction to the very letter given from chief of staff Ed Martin to Eckersley when he was fired."*

...is unclear. The letter to Eckersley from Martin mentioned it and the letter from Aubuchon to Messenger mentioned it. I'm sure there was much more discussed verbally that didn't make it into the letter Martin sent to Eckersley either, or the letter Aubuchon wrote to Tony.

Then, again, at his blog (see Blunt's moving target) Tony writes:

"But that's hardly the bombshell of the day. For that you'll have to wait for tomorrow's column. Yes, I'm writing a column mid-week. This story is too important to wait for Sunday. Here's a tease: One of Blunt's attorneys has written a letter that would indicate that another of Blunt's attorneys is in violation of state statute."

That's fair game but what is unclear is whether the Governor's office is aware there is another attorney in violation of state statute or, for that matter, what the Governor's office will do to remedy it, if true.

Tony seems to be very excited about making charges that don't have much "stick" to them. I guess we'll have to wait and see if there's anything to it. So far I'm not terribly impressed.

Is this the same guy that thought a certain radio talk show host was a conspiracy theorist because he took the word of a certain developer involved in submitting proposals for the former arena site not too long ago? What is it that makes Eckersley more credible than Spence? How is Messenger jumping on the Eckersley band wagon different than Jericho jumping on the Spence bandwagon? All this gossip...I always thought gossip was something generally credited to women but I'm learning that isn't always the case. Go figger.

Maybe Messenger is right to believe Eckersley but so far this is just he said/he said/he said/he said. Not any different than the recent BC Development/City of Springfield dust up, maybe Vincent David Jericho was right in that case. Tony seems to like gossip, as long as he's the instigator. ;)

Note: all emphasis mine.


Jack said...

I thought personnel issues were private. How can they legally divulge that information to the public?

Jacke M. said...

Excellent question, Jack. According to the Attorney General, Jay Nixon:


"Closed meetings and records 610.021, 610.022

A public governmental body is permitted, but not required, to close its meetings, records and votes when they relate to certain issues listed in Section 610.021. When a public body relies on one of these exceptions to close a meeting or record, it should bear in mind that the exceptions are to be read narrowly under Section 610.011. Matters that may be closed include:

Legal actions, causes of action or litigation (except that votes, minutes and settlement agreements must be opened to the public on final disposition, unless ordered closed by a court).
Leasing, purchase or sale of real estate where public knowledge might adversely affect the amount paid in the transaction.
Hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting a particular employee.
Welfare cases of identifiable individuals.
Software codes for electronic data processing.
Individually identifiable personnel records.
Records related to existing or proposed security systems.
Records that are protected from disclosure by other laws.
When a public governmental body votes to meet in closed session, members must cite in open session the specific statute and subsection allowing closure. Once in closed session, the public body may not discuss any matter beyond the scope of the stated reason for the closed session. The public governmental body must close only that portion of the facility necessary for its members to conduct the closed meeting, allowing space for the public to remain and attend any later open session."

So, the key phrase would be: "A public governmental body is permitted, but not required, to close its meetings...."

Anonymous said...

Not sure in this case, but many times, a "personnel issue" is used as to not inform the public of whatever fraud is actually going on...

An employee may leave public service for a petty reason, to simply hide the real reason for their termination, retirement or their departure.

They can always come back and be a paid consultant.

Anonymous said...

I would guess Vince would have to be given proper credit for his efforts on the last JQH deal.

When you look at the millions it will cost the public for some pie in the sky future convention center profit... it is hard to belive that this was the "best of all the offers on the table."

The cost of the Ms Bateman mess hardly can compare to what they dream up on the top floor of the Busch Building every few months...stealing is much less expensive than endless public stupidity.