City’s abuse of law must end now

Published 11:51 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dear Natchez citizens. We, your elected leaders, would like to announce that at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007, we will break the law.

Yes, that’s correct, break the law — the law that each of us swore to uphold. But it’s for your own good; trust us.

You see, we’re above the law. We can do what we want to do, when we want to do it. We know what’s best for this city, so just keep paying taxes and leave us alone.

Email newsletter signup

Signed, the elected scofflaws at City Hall.

In what can only be described as the most flagrant instance of thumbing their noses at the state’s Open Meetings Law, officials with the City of Natchez actually announced plans to hold an illegal, closed-door meeting this week.

The city’s continued abuse of public meetings laws must end immediately. The law was written as a way to protect the public from corruption by shedding light on such meetings.

The purpose of the illegal meeting, aldermen say, is to discuss the crime problems in the City of Natchez.

The issue needs to be discussed, but nowhere in reading Mississippi Code, 25-41-7 (the section of state law dealing with open meetings) do we read any exemption from the Open Meetings Law for such a meeting, even if the aldermen think it is an emergency.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the city, or more particularly the mayor, decided to “declare an emergency” and violate a state law to tear down a piece of private property. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. Laws apply equally to all citizens, even those with whom we’ve elected as our leaders.

We demand that the city cancel the illegal meeting or open it up to the public. Mississippi is a state of laws, regardless of whether our elected officials believe in them or not.