Former health department employee Rebekah Jones grants whistleblower official status

Rebekah Jones is officially a whistleblower under Florida law, the Inspector General’s office told her lawyer on Friday.

Jones, who was responsible for creating the Florida Health Department’s COVID-19 data dashboard, was dismissed last year after expressing concern about the public release of “misleading data,” according to a complaint reviewed by the Miami Herald. it was done. ..

In a complaint filed on July 17, 2020, Jones claimed that he had been dismissed for “opposition and resistance to instructions to tamper with data on government websites.” She explained that after a question from the press, she was asked to bend the data analysis to meet certain policies and remove the data from the public view. public. “

On Friday, the Inspector General’s office informed Jones that “the information disclosed meets the criteria for whistleblower status as described in Florida law,” according to an email received by Herald.

A letter from Inspector General Michael J. Bennett stated that Jones’ complaint was “a reasonable reason to suspect that an employee or agent of an agency or independent contractor violated federal, state or local law, regulation or regulation. “Is shown.

Whistleblower status specific to Jones Protection under Florida lawIncludes the possibility of reinstatement or compensation if an ongoing investigation reveals that the department has retaliated against the concerns raised by Jones last year.

“It’s pretty huge,” Jones told Herald in response to the news. “This is not proof, but this is the beginning. It’s a big step forward.”

Weesam Khoury, communications director at the Ministry of Public Health, said the findings “do not indicate fraud or involvement in alleged acts by the authorities.”

Taryn Fenske, Communications Director of the DeSantis administration, added: It simply provides confidentiality and means that someone has complained. “

Jones first appeared on national television last May after Governor Ron DeSantis accused her of the media while standing next to former Vice President Mike Pence. DeSantis ignored her concerns and instead questioned her credentials.

In a pending case, she was arrested by the Florida Law Enforcement Department in January of this year and charged with three felony charges for breaking into the state’s messaging system and urging people to “speak.”

Since then, she has been at the center of a fierce controversy that has escalated after a blogger currently working in the governor’s office wrote an article titled “Human Events.”“Florida COVID-19 Whistleblower” Saga is a big lieIs aimed at Jones’ Twitter persona and the past, including a history of minor arrests, but none of them was convicted.

Despite the accusation, Jones claims that his department boss has asked him to “manipulate” and “delete” COVID-related data. Emails from within the agency, reviewed by the Miami Herald and others, indicate that Jones was asked to remove the data from the public view after receiving a question about the data from the Herald.

Investigation into Jones’ claims is ongoing.

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