Ethics Complaint Filed Against Supervisors

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

A closed meeting of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors came to light recently when a local resident discovered a taping of it on the county's website.

It showed the board illegally talking about public business. Now, we have the video in hand.

The Meridian Star has filed a complaint with the Mississippi Ethics Commission over this incident, but the consequences of breaking the open meetings law are only felt by taxpayers, as the county pays the maximum fine of $100.

The real question is, will local residents allow their business to be decided behind closed doors?

Supervisors have said the intent was never to deceive the public and that it was just a casual discussion.

But on the video, District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell clearly polls the other supervisors about whether they wanted county attorney, Rick Barry, to proceed with legislation concerning the garbage tax rate.

(Barry) "Is that what y'all want to do?"
(Boswell) "That's exactly what I want to do."
(Hitt) "I'm just not for that. That's just my opinion."
(Boswell) "Are you for it" (asked of Florey) "Yes."
(Boswell "Are you for it, Wayman?(asked of Newell) "Yes."
(Boswell) "Are you for it, Joe?" (asked of Norwood) "Verdict is still out. I want to see the numbers.
(Boswell) "Well, we've got three, so ask for it."

Several minutes into the conversation, you can hear Barry warn the supervisors that they shouldn't be discussing the garbage issue, but his comment was ignored and the conversation continued for several more minutes.

The entire discussion supervisors had about taxes during that executive session is available for viewing on our video player section of www.wtok.com.


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