Part of Executive Session to Air Sunday

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday, Sept. 29, in executive session. That's when a local resident says supervisors illegally discussed public matters during the session that was closed to the public.

Executive sessions are restricted to certain topics and the subject matter must be disclosed prior to the session.

Newscenter 11 and The Meridian Star are working together on this story.

Managing editor, Fredie Carmichael, joined WTOK news director, John Johnson, for this week's edition of 'On the Record''.

"During this lengthy meeting, there is a good 7 and a half minute dialog about public business, about basically how to raise the tax rate on the garbage collection fee. That's basically the video," said Carmichael. "This is where they again begin to delve off topic and talk about things they should not."

The session had apparently accidentally been captured on tape and posted to the county's website.

Leonard Van Slyke, Jr., an attorney working for the Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information, says if the allegations are true, the board of supervisors would have broken the law.

"Should not have been doing it in executive session," said Van Slyke. "It should have been done in open session so that any member of the public could be there to hear."

The open meetings law aims to establish transparency between the government and the taxpayers. Under this law, there are certain issues that can be discussed in executive session. Everything else, must be available for the public to hear.

"But general business, entering contracts, raising contracts, setting budgets, all of those kinds of things, should be and are by law open to the taxpayers to see and hear," Van Slyke said.

The entire video of the executive session that is in question will be shown Sunday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m. on WTOK during 'On The Record' and The Meridian Star will have a full length story in Sunday's edition.


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