Report: Diamondhead City Council violated Open Meetings Act - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Report: Diamondhead City Council violated Open Meetings Act

(Photo source: WLOX) (Photo source: WLOX)
DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) -

The Diamondhead City Council violated the Open Meetings Act when four members met with the State Auditor to review a performance audit of the city. That’s according to a report filed by a hearing officer with the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

The report is the result of a complaint filed by Councilwoman Nancy Depreo. Depreo alleges four council members met with the state auditor Jan. 31 without any public notice of the meeting. Depreo also claims she and Mayor Tommy Schafer were unaware of the meeting and were left uninformed of any details from the discussion.

The report says the city council responded to the allegations, admitting four council members met with the auditor to receive information related to the performance audit. The council argues no official action was taken during the meeting, and the same information given to them was previously provided to Depreo and Schafer.

Depreo acknowledged she and Schafer did meet with the state auditor in Jackson, according to the report, but no documentation concerning the audit was provided to them.

According to the report, Schafer responded to the complaint, saying he witnessed the Jan. 31 meeting at city hall and noted there was “clearly a discussion taking place.” Schafer alleges the council members that met with the auditor drafted a letter referencing the audit and took official action at the next council meeting.

The ethics commission report says Schafer believes it was the council’s intent to bypass the Open Meetings Act.

The report concludes the meeting between council members and the State Auditor should have been conducted as a public meeting with public notice and minutes recorded, as required by the Open Meetings Act.

Ethics commission hearing officer Chris Graham recommended the commission find the city council violated the Open Meetings Act and order the council to refrain from further violations.

Any party involved has five business days from receiving a copy of the report to file written objections. If objections are filed, a hearing before the hearing officer will be set for Tuesday, April 25 at 1 p.m. at the ethics commission offices in Jackson.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Now: Traffic returns to normal on I-10 near Ocean Springs

    Now: Traffic returns to normal on I-10 near Ocean Springs

    Thursday, August 17 2017 9:11 AM EDT2017-08-17 13:11:44 GMT
    This is the scene on I-10 after a multi-vehicle wrec (Photo Source: MDOT)This is the scene on I-10 after a multi-vehicle wrec (Photo Source: MDOT)

    All lanes of Highway 90 are now open. A Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman says an 18-wheeler crossed the median on Interstate 10 Thursday morning, causing a deadly series of accidents. It was just before 6:00 a.m. That truck was heading west near the Ocean Springs exit. Suddenly, it veered left, crossed the median and smashed into a motorcycle on the eastbound side of I-10. The MHP spokesman says that motorcycle driver died at the scene.

    More >>

    All lanes of Highway 90 are now open. A Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman says an 18-wheeler crossed the median on Interstate 10 Thursday morning, causing a deadly series of accidents. It was just before 6:00 a.m. That truck was heading west near the Ocean Springs exit. Suddenly, it veered left, crossed the median and smashed into a motorcycle on the eastbound side of I-10. The MHP spokesman says that motorcycle driver died at the scene.

    More >>
  • Dangerous heat could lead to heat related illness

    Dangerous heat could lead to heat related illness

    Thursday, August 17 2017 8:03 AM EDT2017-08-17 12:03:27 GMT
    Dangerous heat expected across the Mississippi Gulf Coast on ThursdayDangerous heat expected across the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Thursday

    Thursday forecast temperatures are in the low to mid 90s. Not too unusual. But, the heat index will rise to dangerous levels for the first time this summer.

    More >>

    Thursday forecast temperatures are in the low to mid 90s. Not too unusual. But, the heat index will rise to dangerous levels for the first time this summer.

    More >>
  • WLOX Editorial: Louisiana flood solution, not a good deal for South Mississippi

    WLOX Editorial: Louisiana flood solution, not a good deal for South Mississippi

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 4:29 PM EDT2017-08-16 20:29:52 GMT

    We are not strangers to flooding on the Mississippi Coast. Nor are our neighbors to the west in Louisiana. There are forever ongoing efforts, planning and discussions about how to mitigate flooding. But a recent study by the Rand Corporation is more than a little disturbing.

    More >>

    We are not strangers to flooding on the Mississippi Coast. Nor are our neighbors to the west in Louisiana. There are forever ongoing efforts, planning and discussions about how to mitigate flooding. But a recent study by the Rand Corporation is more than a little disturbing.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly