Guest Post | Lana Noonan: Did the Bay St Louis City Council Violate the Mississippi Open Meetings Act?

At the outset, let me say that The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government has no interest in the personalities involved in the Bay St. Louis Historic Preservation Commission.

What we do have an interest in, as per our Mission Statement, is keeping the political process clean, regardless of the individuals involved in the execution of the public’s business.

On the evening of May 8, 2018, at their regular meeting, the Bay St. Louis City Council, after exiting Executive Session, acted on a item of business that was NOT on their advertised Agenda. That item of business was the dismissal of a Commissioner from the Bay St. Louis Historic Preservation Commission.

During the course of the meeting, at the second Public Forum of the evening, Ward II citizen, Teri Velardi, asked Council if they were going to take any kind of action that evening regarding the Historic Preservation Commission. She actually polled the Council one by one. All said “no.”

Council President Gene Hoffman who represents Ward II, said that there could be some issues with the Commission, but not that night. Velardi pressed them with the possibility of an Executive Session on the issue, and all either said they had no issues that night with the Commission or as Ward IV Councilman, Larry Smith said, “he had no opinion at that time on the Commission.”

When Council President Hoffman entertained a motion to consider going into Executive Session, City Attorney, Heather Smith, was the only one to say she had a property purchase and 4 or 5 litigation issues to discuss with Council. The motion by Councilman DeSalvo, and seconded by Councilman Smith passed unanimously to go into closed session. Continue reading “Guest Post | Lana Noonan: Did the Bay St Louis City Council Violate the Mississippi Open Meetings Act?”

Cancer in the Locker Room Part Two: Ellis Anderson out at Bay Historical Preservation….

Ms. Anderson broke the news she was discharged yesterday morning via Facebook:

It was getting on to 11pm when the council came out of an executive session. No video was running and only myself and three other people were present when they reconvened. They approved the minutes and then Larry Smith said he wanted to make a motion.

I’m paraphrasing, but it was something to the effect of “I make a motion that we discharge Ellis Anderson from the Historic Preservation Commission.” There was no discussion or reason given. I wasn’t asked to speak.

Gary Knoblock was out of the room, but Smith, Gene Hoffman, Buddy Zimmerman and Josh Desalvo voted yes. Doug Seal and Jeff Reed voted no.

After the meeting adjourned, I asked for some explanation. The mayor and Josh DeSalvo mentioned a possible lawsuit brought on by something I’d done on behalf of HPC. I pointed out that I’d only been carrying out an action discussed and voted on unanimously by the HPC at our last meeting. I wasn’t even chairing that meeting. I’d heard no complaints, nor had anyone contacted me to let me know there was an issue.

Sources in Bay City Government not authorized to speak with the media indicated to Slabbed weeks ago that Ms. Anderson became time limited after Mississippi Archives and History issued the stop work order on the P. J. Coffee Shop, which Slabbed covered back in March. The issue boiled down as follows: Continue reading “Cancer in the Locker Room Part Two: Ellis Anderson out at Bay Historical Preservation….”