Danny Guice gives pep talk to DMR employees - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Danny Guice gives pep talk to DMR employees

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

After three months of federal and state investigations involving alleged wrongdoing at the Department of Marine Resources and the firing of longtime director Bill Walker, employees had their questions answered Thursday. More than 100 DMR workers met with Interim Executive Director Danny Guice who wanted to clear the air and offer a new vision for the agency.

"We tried to give them information about their jobs, not to worry," Guice said. "Those people that are performing important functions for this state, they're going to keep doing that." 

Guice also talked about Governor Phil Bryant's suggestion of having the agency report directly to Bryant and not a commission.   

"I think the local commission serves us well. They are going to be more involved. I'm going to make sure they are informed and we're going to do a better job in the future," Guice explained. 

A potential budget deficit was also addressed.  

"What we need to do is get a realistic budget so we know where we are from month to month and we won't run into this problem."  

Guice said those problems will mean cuts.  

"Unfortunately, we're going to have to release up to 15 contract workers," Guice lamented. "Now we will give them until the end of this quarter so they'll have time to plan and try to make other arrangements." 

Once of Guice's main goals coming out of the meeting was to let the 130 employees at the DMR know that they are valued members of a valued team, and that they're not the ones being looked at.  

"The DMR is about 130 employees," Guice said. "They should not suffer because of the actions of one or two folks. These people are professionals, they do their job well, they interact with the public well. They should not be painted with the same brush." 

Employees seemed to leave the meeting in a better mood than when they came in.

"We just want to get the trust of the public and let them know that we're out there working for them and we want to keep things going the right way and get that boat in that right direction," said Claude Pittman, Assistant Chief of the Marine Patrol.

DMR officials also say they will schedule a public meeting for next week to gather input on the search for a permanent director. Guice has already said he will apply for that position.

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