Friday, July 26, 2019

Pelahatchie Fires Back at Kingfish

The attorney for the Pelahatchie Board of Alderman accused the Kingfish of filing an Open Meetings Act complaint to generate headlines for this website.



Yours Truly filed an Open Meetings Act complaint against the Pelahatchie Board of Aldermen on July 2 with the Mississippi Ethics Commission.    The Board held a "work session" that started an hour before the regular Board meeting July 1.  However, the Aldermen and employees huddled in a small group in the corner of the Board room and spoke in lowered voices that were impossible for the audience to hear. The behavior continued for the duration of the work session.  The Board conducted earlier work sessions in similar fashion - huddled in a corner, speaking quietly, away from microphones while the public was ignorant about what took place. 

City Attorney John Wakeland replied to the complaint yesterday.  He impugned this correspondent and accused me of acting in bad faith:  
It is believed that the Complaint was not filed to correct an alleged open meetings violation, but rather to create a news headline for the use and benefit of the Complainant blogger.

Nice try.  The "complainant blogger"'s record as a public records activist is fairly well known.  The Kingfish has gone to court three times over public records.  There are at least half a dozen Public Records opinions at the Ethics Commission with my name on them.  Simply put, the public has a right to know what its elected representatives are doing at public meetings.  If secrecy is required, the law allows the Board to use the executive session to discuss sensitive matters.   The other reporters repeatedly grumble about the huddling but never do anything about it.



Mr. Wakeland follows up with this defense:

 The Respondent attempted to make reasonable accommodation for the public in conducting its work session and monthly meeting.     The Complainant was encouraged to position himself wherever he may choose to observe, hear and ask questions regarding all issues involved in the work session.

Ah yes, the "reasonable accommodation."  Maybe five or six people could walk up to the huddle and hear what is taking place.  Not feasible for the entire audience.  Suppose a citizen was disabled? There is a reason there are seats and microphones.    Don't worry, the attorney assures us nothing took place:

And now answering the unnumbered Complaint the Respondent would aver that it was never the intent of Board to conduct any business of the town in a way other than as required by our statute. The bulk of the work done in the work session was a review of the agenda by the members of the upcoming monthly meeting. No business was conducted, no votes were taken, nor any strategy discussed. No effort was made to conceal any of the actions of the Board. In the future the Board will take all reasonable steps necessary to comply with the requirements of the applicable statutes in order  to avoid any misunderstanding.
Learned counsel is an honorable man and is taken at his word.  However, the problem is we are having to take him at his word as to what took place because no one can hear what is taking place.  The work session where nothing was discussed was more than twice as long as the regular Board meeting that took place immediately after the work session. 

All the Board has to do to comply with the law is simply sit in front of their microphones and use them or talk loudly. 

The Board asked the Commission to dismiss the complaint with prejudice. Mr. Wakeland also requested the Ethics Commission to task me with the costs of defending the complaint. Nice try.

Kingfish note: Mayor Ryshonda Beechem appeared at the March work session and had the Board follow the Open Meetings Act.  To say they weren't happy is putting it mildly.  Watch for yourself.



31 comments:

Madison Rulz said...


No fair Kingfish, enforcing the rules and all.

1. Unless Kingfish requested the huddle, they were responsible for the blog 'headline.'

2. If Kingfish was only interested in blog headlines and page views, he would probably pass on attending Pelatucky board meetings and focus on Ole Miss student crimes and cat fights at Mistletoe.

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps to obtain the records requested.

Anonymous said...

Bless John Wakefield's heart. Let's see if Board Attorney #5 of the Nation of Islam Mayor Era can last more than a couple of monthly meeting cycles.

Anonymous said...

Haha, keep up the good work KF/JJ. Folks should be held accountable for their words..

Anonymous said...

Please proceed!

So much winning there in Pelahatchie!

Anonymous said...

Look at all them lined up!

Did someone start a rumor that the sherruf was going to be selling a repo'd double wide less than 30 yrs old complete with the wheels under it?

Anonymous said...

I hope they bring the full arsenal of the City of Pelahatchie to bear on Kingfish and they shut this two bit gossip rag down. Good riddance to bad rubbish. The city and state will be better for it.

Anonymous said...

Full arsenal of pelahatchie?

A used coffee pot, a broken microwave, a few bent folding chairs, and a broom.

Not even a roach fears that you librard

Anonymous said...

Board: “trust us!”

Uh no. This law exists so we don’t have to trust you.

Anonymous said...

11:08
Cantonian here. We too have been the targeted unfairly by nosy nuisance Kingfish and we look forward to the day that Jackson Jambalaya is brought to heel.

Go for it City of Pelahatchie!

*raises fist in solidarity*

Anonymous said...

Leave those poor people alone. They have had to watch a nice little town go to hell in just a couple of years. Knox Ross had all going the right way and now just look.

Anonymous said...

Lawyer just doing his job. Defend your client no matter how stupid client is. Fun job I bet

Anonymous said...

Attn 12:34 Are you a former or current board member of CMU (Canton municipal utilities)?

Anonymous said...

Funny how people complain about this site being a nuisance, but they are on here reading. I haven't seen anything unfair. It's just news. Do things the correct way and there shouldn't be anything newsworthy. Pretty simple.

Anonymous said...

Lifeling Florentine chiming in as well.
Kingfish please don't come snooping for skeletons in our closets whenever Tater gets elected. He lives in Flowood now. Let sleeping dogs lie and let the secrets of the past stay at the bottom of Hoover Lake.

Anonymous said...

Why is Kingfish spending so much time in pelehatchie and not covering the shenanigans at the Hinds County Board meetings? It’s the biggest and nuttiest county in the state but you drive out to Pelehatchie for fun?

Cynical Sam said...

"The board doth protest too much, methinks." (Stolen from Hamlet)

Anonymous said...

King Fish doesn’t need a Pelahatchie board meeting to use as a fancy headline to
attract viewers...:)....LOL!

Also...at 1:39pm...where’s this Hoover Lake of which u speak?...🤔

Waller to the top...in an upset...😎

Anonymous said...

"It is believed that the Complaint was not filed to correct an alleged open meetings violation, but rather to create a news headline for the use and benefit of the Complainant blogger."

Does counsel really believe it makes one damned bit of difference why the complaint was filed? And this man is an attorney?

Anonymous said...

@2:21
Latitude: 32°9'35.02"N
Longitude: 90°10'38.48"W

Anonymous said...

Nobody from Florence knows what a Florentine is. Especially someone from Cleary Heights. They refer to themselves as children of the big cross buffet.

Anonymous said...

I can't find an attorney with the last name Wakefield in the MS Bar lawyer directory. What gives?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, "just wants headlines" is not a statuory reason to deny an open records request.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there's food on the counter. It appears that those at the trough haven't missed any meals.

Anonymous said...

4:12, since I've never filed one, do you have to give a reason or intended use of the information sought under this law? I suspect and would hope NOT.

Anonymous said...

Could be the Pelahatchy Attroney's name is John Wakeland!

https://www.facebook.com/PelahatchieNews/posts/the-board-voted-on-two-hires-in-mondays-board-meetingjohn-wakeland-as-the-new-bo/2619261264815549/

Anonymous said...

They refer to themselves as children of the big cross buffet.

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

Anonymous said...

Just heard the Mayor has filed suit to fire all five alderman. She is NUTS!

Anonymous said...

As Shakespeare said, "First thing, kill all the news reporters!"

Or some such.

Anonymous said...

I like it when the gray-haired lady pops her hand on the desk for emphasis. That is SUPER helpful! What a bunch of goons!!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you request the paid invoices that was paid with $20,000 out of the special fire fund that didn't have anything to do with the fire dept and see who signed them!! I can tell you that there was CAP loans paid with those funds and some pipe for public works and according to the local paper that these were charges the fire dept made!!! So why don't you check into that news story???

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