Court: Governments can't evade open meetings in small groups - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Court: Governments can't evade open meetings in small groups

By JEFF AMY
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Supreme Court is upholding a ruling that a government can't set up meetings of less than a quorum of public officials to evade the state's Open Meetings Act.

The court ruled 9-0 Thursday that the city of Columbus was wrong to set up pairs of meetings with the mayor and three city council members apiece, avoiding the city council's quorum of four members.

A reporter for The Commercial Dispatch newspaper filed an ethics complaint and the state Ethics Commission ruled against the city. The city appealed to chancery court, and then again to the Supreme Court when Chancery Judge Kenneth Burns also ruled the practice was illegal.

Associate Justice Robert Chamberlin, writing for the court, says the city acted "with the express intent of circumventing the act."

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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