Adams Co. cited for closed meeting

Published 2:11 am Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Adams County Board of Supervisors has been cited for holding an illegal closed meeting when it held an executive session to discuss funding of the economic development authority in February 2009.

The board was cited in a preliminary report from the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

According to The Natchez Democrat, the commission found that the board’s explanation for the closed meeting lacked “sufficient specificity and does not constitute a meaningful reason for entering executive session.”

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The newspaper filed a complaint against the board on Feb. 23, 2009.

According to the board of supervisors’ minutes provided to the Ethics Commission, the board voted unanimously to “go into executive session to discuss matters pertaining to litigation, personnel and industrial development.” In executive session, the minutes reflect, the board voted to fund the economic development agency.

The Ethics Commission found that funding of the agency did not qualify as a reason for an executive session under the state Open Meetings Law.

Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said the supervisors received a copy of the preliminary report and recommendation from Hood about a month ago.

“We just have to comply with the law,” Grennell said.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Hood said his final report will mirror the preliminary report sent to the newspaper and the board of supervisors because neither party appealed the preliminary findings.

Hood said the county could be fined $100. However, Hood said the commission has not enforced fines in similar cases, which he said would charge taxpayers for violations incurred by public officials.