Monday, November 25, 2019

Kingfish Wins at Ethics Commission

The Kingfish won a round at the Mississippi Ethics Commission last week.  Hearing Officer Sonia Shurden ruled the Pelahatchie Board of Aldermen violated the Open Meetings Act when it conducted its work sessions by "huddling" in a corner of the Board room, making it impossible for the audience to hear any discussion.


Board & City Officials huddle during July work session.


JJ filed an Open Meetings Act complaint against the Pelahatchie Board of Aldermen with the Mississippi Ethics Commission on July 2.    The Board held a "work session" that started an hour before the regular Board meeting Monday night.  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.



When yours truly questioned the practice that night, the city attorney  said it was a work session so the Aldermen didn't have to make themselves heard to the audience.  He said anyone could walk up to the members and listen although space was extremely limited.  I walked up with a video camera but he warned me about "blocking" anyone's view.

The Board started holding work sessions in 2018.  The Aldermen and Alderwoman usually huddle in a corner, speak softly, and call city employees over for discussion as needed.  Microphones are not used, thus the audience is unable to hear what these elected representatives are doing.

One work session
 Mayor Ryshonda Beechem is usually absent from the work sessions.  However, she appeared at the March work session and chaired the meeting.   She required everyone to sit at their regular Board seats and use the microphones.  One would have though Sherman was marching through Atlanta again given the Board's reaction.  They raised holy hell about allowing the public to hear what they were doing.  She said several Pelahatchie citizens complained they were unable to hear the Aldermen.  They demanded to know who complained as they howled their outrage.  Don't take my word for it.  Watch for yourself.



The opinion cites the Mississippi Supreme Court from a 1989 case in support of the ruling:

Every member of every public board and commission in this state must bear in mind that the spirit of the Act that a citizen spectator, including any representative of the press,  has just as much right to attend the meeting and see and hear everything that is going on as has any member of the board or commission.
 "Work sessions conducted by the board are "meetings" as well. The Open Meetings Act "requires" the Board to "take all reasonable means within their power and resources to ensure all members of the public who attend are able to see and hear everything that is going on at an open public meeting."  The Board doesn't have to use microphones but if it uses them during the regular Board meeting, telling someone to just walk up to the huddle and listen is not going to cut the mustard.


Kingfish note: The reporters at the work sessions complained and grumbled about not being able to hear the discussions thanks to the Board's huddling.  Well, yours truly went by the Rankin County News and asked the publisher to join with me in filing a complaint.  Obviously, he refused to do so.  So much for public duty and all that jazz.  Coward.




21 comments:

Cynical Sam said...

Bravo! Great work!

Anonymous said...

well done

Anonymous said...

Just last Friday I commented to a friend that Pelahatchie had been mighty quiet for the last few months and it was about time for another bombshell to explode. Not that this is a bombshell, but it is nice to know that the PSO (Pelahatchie Soap Opera) is alive and well. Thanks for the good work KF.

Anonymous said...

Keep 'em honest Kingfish!

Anonymous said...

Perfect, that's good work KF.

TheClintonscantsuicideusall said...

KF, you need to come to Canton. Jerry's been bought off to stay quiet.

Anonymous said...

Rankin County News are a bunch of cowards. They spend more pages talking about High School Proms and elementary school children's science projects rather than anything serious happening in Rankin County.
God forbid they discuss the Guvnuhs private driveway or the back room dealings with lucre from Civil Asset Forfeiture.

NOTE:I've got an idea for a new regular JJ series... Clandestine photos of local evangelical preachers buying liquor and lottery tickets!

Anonymous said...

i hope she’s re-elected!

Rick Parry said...

Ooops!

(Gotsta hate when that happen!)

Anonymous said...

Make 'em do it right!

Anonymous said...

So, what did you win. What are the consequences?

Anonymous said...

Excellent work.

Anonymous said...

So after you went through all that, what was the result? What changes? What’s the punishment?

The Public Be Damned said...

Take a look at the MadCo Board meetings. Constantly visiting among themselves during discussions, covering their microphones, passing notes, texting each other and whispering among themselves out of public earshot. It's gotten so they can't remember which deals they promised each other the prior night on the telephone.

Anonymous said...

9:43 - I’m curious about your comment re: Lousteau.

I’ve been out of MS for 5 years now, but am intimately familiar with the mess in Canton & how Jerry always held their feet to the fire. What’s changed?

Anonymous said...

1:11 - It's very simple. He's stopped bitching entirely. Whatchu reckon caused that?

Anonymous said...

No single journalist nor media outlet has done more in the last decade to demand transparency in government than Kingfish and Jackson Jambalaya.

TheClintonscantsuicideusall said...

1:11. Has to do with his failing Radio Station and his not actually being around that much. He began towing the CMU lies in their favor a while back. Won't even comment on the current investigation, so they say, of the CPD Chiefs for Fraud. Word on the street says he was also threatened. Cannot confirm nor deny.

Rick Ward said...

Just noticed this story almost a week late. First I would like to say good for you Kingfish! I mean that sincerely, not at all sarcastically. But, this is just proof of my constant claim that the Ethics Commission is worthless and was designed to protect public officials. Action taken by them is consistent with that always taken...nothing. Look at the co conclusion on the report. They confirmed the board of aldermen violated the law. But what was the punishment? "Y'all don't do that no more, you hear?" Now why is that worthless? Think about the time and effort put in by Kingfish attending, witnessing and documenting the farce. Then attempt to involve local media. Then drafting and submitting the complaint. It was the received and reviewed by the "commission" director, assigned to an investigator, assigned to an attorney, presented to the commissioners. The city was notified and the director reported the findings. How much did that fiasco that lasted from July to late November cost the taxpayers? And what if the board had been required to pay a Mickey Mouse fine? Whose pocket would that have come from? Not the individual board members who violated the law. It would have been from city coffers which translates to tax dollars that also translates to our pockets, no theirs. Whoopi!

I would relate this to me "winning the lottery" during my first play last week. I bought $10 worth of scratch off tickets and wow, I won $2. I won just like Kingfish, but at what cost?

Anonymous said...

December 1, 2019 at 4:39 AM

You are sure up early to rant on the worthlessness of a state agency you clearly know nothing about. First, you realize that said state agency gets its enforcement authority from enacting legislation, and in case you don't know where legislation comes from, it is created by those fine folks down at the capitol that the voters of this great state put in office every 2 years. If you think the Ethics Commission needs more teeth, send your rant to your representative. Additionally, if you were to review the Commission's website you would notice that this is actually the first open meetings case brought on the City of Pelahatchie, at least as far as I could find - you want to hammer down on a first time offender even if the offense is not as egregious as say holding a secret back door meeting with a quorum of the board? Seems logical. and you would know, if you actually read the Open Meetings Act before spouting off, that any fines handed out by the Ethics Commission are to be paid in the offender's PERSONAL capacity. So your argument about it coming from City coffers is fake news. Thank God you weren't appointed to the Ethics Commission.

Rick Ward said...

Crawl out from under the cloak you hide behind, reveal your identity and contact me. Then I will respond to your ignorant comments. I don't hide behind anything. Rick Ward 601-665-6088, rickward47@hotmail.com, Rick Ward on Facebook. I live at 83 Walker Lane Collins, MS 39428. I don't use screen names or argue with anybody who chooses to be Anonymous.

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Archives

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
.