Contact Your Supervisor, Demand Open Government in Jackson County

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved [exposed,convicted]. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Gospel of John 3:20-21

Despite their denials, it is widely speculated that on Monday the Jackson County Board of Supervisors will vote on a settlement agreement regarding the Singing River Health System pension plan. None of the details are known, including who else might owe the plan money, and what impact any settlement by the county might have on Jackson County tax payers.  Just last week the supervisors voted to give Chevron a $10 million per year tax break with no public discussion. Just a few days before, the county’s credit rating was lowered and is currently under investigation to be lowered again.

Ask the supervisors that if any vote is required on any settlement, to table the vote until after the new year.  Two of the current supervisors were voted out during the last elections.  The people have spoken and want new leadership.  The voters wishes should be respected. We are asking this meeting to be open and fair to let the taxpayers see what is happening in their county.  Since the meeting is on Monday morning, you will need to contact them at home, we have listed their home numbers below.  Please be respectful in tone, content,  and with the hour that you call.

  • Barry Cumbest, District 1, 228-588-2449 (Hurley, Wade, North Vancleave) Facebook
  • Melton Harris, District 2, 228-762-5763 (Moss Point, Pascagoula)
  • Mike Mangum, District 3, 228-769-1935  (Gautier, Pascagoula)  Facebook
  • Troy Ross, District 4, 228-217-5142  (Downtown Ocean Springs, St. Martin, Latimer)  Facebook
  • John McKay, District 5, 228-324-1252 (Ocean Springs, Gulf Park Estates, Vancleave)  Facebook

The JCBOS has long ignored the open meetings laws of this state. Whether this is a willful act or one of negligence on the part of their counsel is reserved for later discussion. The important thing is that you know the law and impress upon the supervisors that they follow it at all meetings, especially at the last one of the year.

Karen Nelson at the Sun Herald does an excellent job of documenting the concerns of retirees and the ignorance of supervisors as to their own agenda. Apparently Melton Harris and Troy Ross are aware of some particular, yet undisclosed, agenda item regarding Singing River litigation. It will brought forth by their attorney, Billy Guice, but they are all acting as if they don’t know the nature and character of the agenda item.  It is truly astounding that the supervisors can retain an attorney in their employ and he gives them the mushroom treatment. That is, keeps them in the dark and feeds them manure.

The JCBOS has excelled at abusing the executive session to conduct votes and discussion not permitted by law out of public view. There is a very specific protocol with which the board must comply as laid out in the Open Meetings Act and in  Hinds County Board of Supervisors v. Common Cause. 

When moving into executive session, the board must identify the matters with “sufficient specificity to inform those present that there is in reality a specific, discrete matter or area which the board had determined should be discussed in executive session.”  Simply stating “litigation” or “personnel matters” is not sufficient to comply with the law.  For example, “Litigation – SRHS pension” may suffice, but “litigation” alone never will

When the board move into executives session on Monday, they must first publicly disclose the reason for each and every item to be discussed before discussing the item in secret.  If the board goes into executive (secret) session and discusses an item not on that list, they are in violation of state law.  If they wish to discuss or vote on something that wasn’t on the original list, they must return to a public session and disclose any new item brought up for discussion or vote before returning to their secret meeting.

There is no requirement that the board meet in secret. It is purely their choice.

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors will meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, December 21, at 2915 Canty  St, Pascagoula. View the agenda here.

Retirees fear supervisors will be rushed to settle SRHS suit, Karen Nelson, Sun Herald.

Concerned retirees expected to crowd last Jackson County supervisors meeting, Karen Nelson, Sun Herald.

Chevron Gets Huge Exemption on Investment, Karen Nelson, Sun Herald

A Guide to Mississippi Open Meetings & Public Records Laws, Office of the Attorney General






2 thoughts on “Contact Your Supervisor, Demand Open Government in Jackson County

  1. Speaking of secret meetings, I wonder if SRHS board of trustees will have a secret meeting this week and give themselves and SRHS Admin some Christmas presents?
    Whatever happened to that Scott Taylor guy and his promise to be open and informative? He hasn’t said anything on his blog in months yet he’s been present in court proceedings.
    Let’s contact our Trustees and ask them what they are about to do before they do it.

    • With the recent BOS approval of the settlement, it is even more important to contact the trustees. And another interesting thing that may give us an even greater sense of urgency to contact our trustees, the Bond girl was at the courthouse, file in hand. She was in and out quickly and quietly.

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