On February 1, 2019 the Mississippi Ethics Commission cited the Bay St Louis City Council for violating the Mississippi Open Meeting law in the matter styled Noonan v Mayor and Councilmen of the City of Bay St Louis. In what is a recurring theme with a different cast of characters, the City conducted an improper executive session which resulted in the removal of Ellis Anderson from the Bay St Louis Historical Preservation Commission.
The opinion is not yet on the Ethics Commission website but I have seen portions of it. Essentially the Council and Mayor in the City of Bay St Louis are on the receiving end of an ethics compliant that mostly resulted from not receiving good legal advice from Board attorney Heather Ladner Smith, who failed to caution the Mayor and Council not to act on an item which was not contained on the official meeting agenda. Smith, the politically connected daughter of Hancock County Tax Collector Jimmie Ladner took over as City Attorney when Trent Favre was appointed County Court Judge.
According to Mrs. Noonan, Ms. Smith of the Butler Snow law firm is providing legal services to the City without a formal written contract, a practice the previous administration was advised to discontinue by the Office of the State Auditor.
While Slabbed gathers information to update this post, those so interested should click here for additional background.
Update: Here is the final opinion referenced yesterday. The Council was tagged with not doing their executive session correctly and cites Councilman Smith for trying to conduct deliberations with a majority of the board via email. As Lana Noonan noted in comments today, Councilman Smith was led down the primrose path by City Attorney Heather Ladner Smith. Continue reading “BREAKING: Bay St Louis City Council Cited for Violating Open Meeting Law (Updated)”