Former official whistleblower health department staff
The DeSantis administration has worked long and hard to discredit Rebekah Jones, who was fired last year from her job as a data analyst after accusing state health officials of pressuring her to manipulate some coronavirus figures. She held on for a year, and last week the Florida Inspector General’s office firmed the ground beneath her feet.
The IG office told lawyers for Jones on Friday that she was officially a whistleblower. This will provide him with certain protections, as well as the possibility of reinstatement or compensation. The former health department employee said she was asked to skew the data analysis to better align with administrative policy and also on the screen other statistics from the public perspective.
In a world that loves a bright, clear line between heroines and villains, Jones, like his nemesis DeSantis, isn’t perfect. In January, she was arrested and charged with allegedly hacking into a state messaging system and encouraging people to “speak out”. Charge cheated? Who knows? She has also been charged with cyberstalking in the past, but no convictions.
Of course, the governor, who seemed to have no concern at all for the health and well-being of most Floridians as the pandemic raged, has a soft spot for the environment. Go figure it out.
So far, in DOH emails reviewed by the Miami Herald show, Jones has been asked to remove data from public view after receiving questions about it from the news organization. In addition, she has run into an administration that has shamelessly withheld vital information about COVID over the past year. Unfortunately, the possibility of the DOH manipulating information is not exaggerated.
An investigation continues, and under cover of the status of whistleblower. Jones will have to vigorously support his claims and the state his defense.
For now, Jones’ whistleblower victory is a victory over state secrecy for the rest of us.