NOAA Facing Further Criticism Due to Shady History of Employees
(The Berniard Law Firm) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has experienced their fair share of scrutiny since the beginning of the BP oil spill. In fact, academic scientists have accused NOAA of denying scientific validity in order to support a sanitized version of the truth. Many blame NOAA’s behavior on various federal agencies which sought to minimize the crisis instead of explore and remedy the severity of the existing problems. Yet, NOAA is now facing even further scrutiny and criticism in light of hiring Dale J. Jones Jr., who has been accused of serious misbehavior that calls into question his capacity to aid Gulf Coast residents affected by the BP oil spill. Mr. Jones initially was a fisheries program specialist. However, when allegations came forward and were subsequently investigated by the Attorney General, Mr. Jones was deposed as director of federal fisheries law enforcement and sent to the Gulf Coast to work for NOAA in assisting Gulf Coast residents. The allegations claimed and investigated into Mr. Jones included misuse of funds, document shredding, and excessive harassment of local fishermen. Mr. Jones has caused many Gulf Coast Residents to become extremely alarmed that NOAA would hire an individual with Mr. Jones characteristics to help them in their most trying time of life. The Gulf Coast residents within less than ten years have experienced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the damage of Hurricane Gustav, and now the BP oil spill; for the NOAA to hire an individual such as Mr. Jones understandably causes many Gulf Coast residents serious concern.
Mr. Jones causes serious concerns for many Gulf Coast residents due to a long list of serious misbehaviors geared towards fishermen and the fishing community. Mr. Jones was ultimately terminated from being the federal fisheries law enforcement officer after the Inspector General testified before a congressional subcommittee that Mr. Jones explicitly authorized a massive document shredding while the Inspector General was actively investigating and had charged overseas travel improperly to the Asset Forfeiture Fund, which was made up of fined paid in responses to cases made against the fishing industry. Further, Mr. ones was infamous for targeting and harassing certain fishermen, even going so far as to tell his agents to target boats or businesses with bad reputations.
However, Mr. Jones will not be sent to work the BP oil spill alone as he will be joined by another individual who, coincidentally, was also admonished for misbehavior. Charles Juliand, the senior attorney for enforcement and litigation in the Northeast Division, based in Gloucester, was described by Commerce Department Inspector General, Todd Zinser, as “the epicenter of excessive law enforcement prosecution activities undertaken against the fishing industry.” Mr. Juliand was well-known for his abrasive behavior towards fishermen. Specifically, the Inspector General made numerous reports which exposed Mr. Juliand to have an ugly attitude of disrespect of the fishing industry. The final report cited multiple statement and stated that “Juliand bears animus against fishermen and the industry.” The Inspector General’s report continued to state that “such written remarks, actions and predispositions from a federal government attorney empowered with virtually unchecked prosecutional discretion constitute serious lack of judgment and conduct unbecoming a federal government attorney charged with enforcing the law.” These men represented everything negative that individuals fear in people who sit in seats of power: abuse of citizens, abuse of power, and utilizing fear as a tool of control.
Despite the Inspector General and Attorney General’s investigations, reports and findings, NOAA has supported employing both men and assigning them to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Mr. Jones salary will decrease from $158,500 to $155,000, while Mr. Juliand’s salary will remain the same at $126,000. Gulf Coast residents are concerned that the hurdles they have been forced to face will only increase in difficulty with NOAA employment men of such questionable backgrounds such as Mr. Jones and Mr. Juliand. The oil spill resulted in thousands of people losing their jobs, security, and lifestyles, what Gulf Coast residents require is understanding, care, and help, not the threat of indecent or dangerous behavior.
These concerns make it important that claimants consider speaking with an attorney about their claims. Should these men, or individuals similar, cause claims to be handled improperly, limits could be made to payments that could drastically reduce recovery in the Gulf.