Why does city defend ‘legal’ closed meetings?

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 13, 2000

If you have not had a chance to read the latest copy of the CITYRECORD, you should. City employees are delivering it around town.In it you will find a detailed discussion on the open meeting lawsin Mississippi. You will also find an attack on the credibility ofthis newspaper as well as an indirect attack on the abilities of aveteran staff member of the LEADER.

While we find it refreshing that the city has finally read thelaws regarding open meetings, we hope that they will now begin tofollow those laws and allow local citizens to know how their taxdollars are being spent. Meanwhile, we will continue publishing ourweekly feature on Sunday called Open Meeting Watch to let you knowwhen secret meetings are being conducted.

We have come to expect attacks on our editorial opinions fromthis city board. After all, if we are going to dish it out on ourOpinion page, we have to be willing to accept it back. But, we areastounded that the city fathers would attack veteran reporter MattColeman, questioning his ability to accurately cover meetings.Coleman is an award-winning journalist whose credentials areimpeccable

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We do not claim to be perfect. Sometimes we do make errors, andwe work to correct factual errors when they occur. This was thecase over the confusion with a vote involving a secret meeting onthe abolishment of the airport board earlier this year.

One might remember the October 3rd board meeting in which thecity attorney responded to an inquiry from Matt Coleman about theclosing of a meeting for unspecified personnel reasons bysaying,”take us to court.”

We were amazed at the arrogance of the elected board to thumbtheir noses not only at us, but at every citizen in Brookhaven, bytelling us that city business was nobody’s business but theirown.

After reading the diatribe in the City Record about how theboard is within the law to meet in secret, one might pose thisquestion: Why does the city find it necessary to defend itssecrecy?

Would it not be more productive to simply conduct city businessin the open, where everything is on the table and no secrets arekept?