No quorum at Diamondhead meeting over political email blast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

No quorum at Diamondhead meeting over political email blast

Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer tells the crowd gathered that his special called council meeting did not have a quorum, so the meeting became a town hall sound off over email security issues. (Photo source: WLOX) Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer tells the crowd gathered that his special called council meeting did not have a quorum, so the meeting became a town hall sound off over email security issues. (Photo source: WLOX)
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DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) -

A city council meeting with no quorum turned into a town hall sound off in Diamondhead Friday. Three council members and the city manager were no shows, but plenty of interested residents were there.

The special meeting was called this week after an anonymous email with a clear political motive was sent to about 400 people on the city's email directory. The list is typically used to send out public information and announcements from the city.

Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer said the city’s email list is not protected, but should be, especially if it can be used for what he called "a political smear campaign."

The anonymous letter covered a long list of issues and heavily criticized Schafer for what it called "contempt" over the city manager form of government. The writer even identified several council candidates who they claimed would support a system overhaul and raise taxes.

"This was a very politically motivated thing. It was a smear campaign against me. It was full of lies," Schafer said. "And, it’s very unfortunate. People don’t want that coming into their homes."

Mayoral candidate and current Councilman-At-Large Ernie Knobloch distanced himself from the email.

"I was not involved, I can tell you that," Knobloch said. "I got the email, and I was surprised. I didn’t know anything about it. I think it was stupid to do it, personally. But, I can’t control other people’s actions."

At the meeting, City Attorney Sean Tindell said he consulted with attorneys at the state Ethics Commission, and it was determined that the city email aggregate is public record. He suggested that a possible action by the city would be to have a full disclosure to those who sign up for the city email blast that their email addresses were public.

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