Shifted out of the NOAA law enforcement director's chair in 2010 after an inspector general found his agents had improperly treated fishermen like criminals and abused a multi-million dollar fund built on fines, Dale J. Jones Jr.'s career has rebounded.
Less than two years after revelations of a mass document shredding authorized by Jones that may have destroyed evidence sought by investigators for Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser, Jones has been named a program manager for a high-priority initiative aimed at opening data portals for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the outside world.
After he was quietly removed as director of law enforcement in April 2010 — with no reference to Jones, the email press release said only that an interim acting chief had been appointed — Jones was reassigned to be a fisheries analyst.
He absorbed a negligible reduction in pay, from $158,500 as director of law enforcement to $155,000 as a fisheries analyst.
His new position, "enterprise data management program manager," apparently restores Jones to management status.
The Enterprise Data Management program within the Office of Science and Technology had been under construction by an information architect since 2008, and represents an ambitious effort to manage and provide internal external access to some of the mountains of data that the $5 billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gathers and stores.
Jones said in a brief telephone interview Tuesday that his assignment did not represent a new position but only an additional set of duties.
NOAA spokesman Justin Kenney on Tuesday declined to release Jones' current or former salary and job descriptions, though, in an email he said, "Dale Jones has not been promoted."
However, an internal email Monday announced that "Dale Jones of the Office of Science and Technology has been appointed the new Enterprise Data Management (EDM) program manager effective Jan, 2, 2012.
"Dale has extensive program leadership experience in NMFS (the National Marine Fisheries Service) and is currently leading development of the International trade data system," the unsigned email said. The Times could not determine the author.
Although he was sacked as director of law enforcement as a result of the multiple investigations into miscarriages of justice dealt by Jones' agents to the fishing industry — especially the fleet based in Gloucester — NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco and her senior staff fiercely protected his privacy, even from congressional inquiries.
U.S. Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown and Congressmen John Tierney and Barney Frank all sought details of the circumstances surrounding Jones' initial shift from law enforcement to fisheries analyst. The frustration boiled over last June when an exasperated Brown, during a field hearing of a Senate subcommittee in Boston, wondered, "What does it take to get fired at NOAA?"