Report Cites Open Meetings Violation

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Lauderdale County, Miss. A state Ethics Commission report finds that the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors violated Mississippi's open meetings law during discussions of a bond issue in 2013.

The recommendation was made the Mississippi Ethics Commission by its executive director, Tom Hood.

The complaint was filed by Tommy Williams of Marion, who is against that 14 million dollar bond issue, regarding discussions had in March of 2013. The violations involve a piecemeal quorum where two separate meetings with two supervisors were held on the same day. It also includes a telephone poll that was conducted where three members made their decisions in favor of the bond, thus making the opinions of the other two members and the public a moot point. Violations do not erase the actions taken by the board, but Williams says he hopes something good will come of it.

"I would just like to see them bring the public into the decision-making more by at least getting the benefit of some opinions, besides in this particular case it was three members of the board," said Williams, the complainant.

Lauderdale County board attorney, Lee Thaggard, says the report is inaccurate. He also says the report's interpretation of the law is too broad. The bond issue in question is currently waiting to be taken up by the Mississippi Supreme Court, which could happen within a couple months.