Control Issues

Those of you that follow the Lumberton Infomer Facebook page, know I started uploading video clips from the meetings. I started taping the meetings, or portions of the meetings, because there's a group of individuals, namely the ones serving on the board, that want people to believe I was making things up. So, in order to avoid accusations of twisting the truth, I started taping parts of the meeting. I recently upgraded my cellphone and I'm thinking of either using it or the tablet to start taping the meetings in their entirety because now the elected officials and the city clerk are saying I'm taking things out of context. The utter ridiculousness of their accusations. If they spent a fraction of the time looking for ways to grow industry instead of monitoring my activities, they might be somewhat productive. The other day, when going into the office to get permission to view the public records, I noticed this sign (picture above) posted at the counter. Now, at what meeting was this ordinance implemented because I apparently missed the meeting and the public hearing. It seems that our city clerk, Merlene Wall, has some control issues. She's so busy trying to micromanage everyone and everything, she can't get her work completed. Again I will ask, what is she trying to hide. There are those that say I'm being a little rough on the little, old lady. Well, I disagree. I had no qualms with Merlene until she started spreading the rumor that I had planted recording devices in the executive session room; which gave her the justification to prohibit citizen access to the public records room. Once again, the utter ridiculousness of these accusations. Is that all you can do with your post-menopausal brain; sit around and look for something you can try to control? When I first saw these control issues emerge, I brushed them off as being organized but month after month, there's more and more hoops to jump through. For instance, when she started, I thought it was a great idea to print on the front and back of the agenda. Actually, that is a great idea and a cost saving measure on her part. Kudos for that vision, but then she's so tenacious, that she want everyone to sign a sheet, with not dates or anything indicating it's for a board meeting, before they can get a copy of the agenda. Control issues. She said an alderperson wanted her to start recording the data of those attending. Well, here's a suggestion, look up from where you're sitting and you will see who's attending the board meeting. We give people an inch and they want to take a foot, you give them a foot and they want a mile, you give them a mile and next thing you know, they're in the driver's seat. Zora Neale Hurston (one of my favorite authors) said it best,

"If you are silent about your pain they will kill you and say you enjoyed it."
Everyone that knows me, know that I am far from silent.

Now, according Mississippi Attorney General Opinion 2006-00021

"A board may develop reasonable rules regarding taping and/or recording of its public meetings, a flat prohibition against taping is unreasonable and violates the intent of the open meetings laws.”
Once again, this administration is in clear violation of the laws set forth for the governance of a code charter municipality. I'm beginning to wonder if these people that are supposedly working for the City of Lumberton (elected and employed) bother to read guidelines regarding their positions or do they not care that they are breaking the laws. Well, I, for one, have grown weary of trying to INFORM them of their duties and responsibilities. As a matter of fact, I have contacted the Mississippi Ethics Commission regarding this administrations' blatant disregard for the laws regarding open meeting and public records. The fact that we, the general public, cannot view approved minutes months after the board meeting is a clear indication of a vacuous city clerk. It's unacceptable and no one, including the mayor, seems to think this is problematic. There's no excuse for not getting the minutes compiled in a timely fashion. The day after the board meeting is the opportune time to sit down and type up the minutes because the events are fresh on your mind. Why do you think I type the review of the board meeting the next day? Because I can look at my notes and know what happened instead of trying to rely on memory months later.

In case the link is not working properly, here's the text of the Mississippi Attorney General Opinion 2006-00021 in regards to video of public meetings. I must admit, no one has attempted to stop me from recording the board meetings, the sign was posted at the counter in the clerk's office. So, I would like to think if there's nothing prohibiting the taping of board meetings, the same would apply when it comes to the clerk's office. As a matter of fact, if there's a privacy issue, why am I always getting texts about husband's being in the office for extended periods of times. Now, that seems to be more of a violation of privacy/personal information since they are allegedly behind the counter with direct access to customer's vital billing information.

Re: Video of public meeting

Gary Carnathan

P.O. Drawer 70

Tupelo, MS 38802-0070

Dear Mr. Carnathan:

Attorney General Jim Hood has received your opinion request and has assigned it to me for research and reply.

Your letter states and asks the following:

The City of Verona meets on a regular basis and a gentleman appears at the meeting with a camera and conducts a video of the entire Board meeting. It is not known by the Board for what purpose or use the video is being obtained.

Everyone is aware that the meetings are public; however, the Board desires that you render an opinion as to whether or not they can be videoed by a private individual for purposes unknown.

In response, as you correctly point out, the monthly meetings of Verona city officials are public meetings and fall under the Mississippi Open Meetings Act, Section 25-41-1, et seq., of the Mississippi Code. Generally speaking, the public may attend such meetings and take notes, photographs, and video or audiotape of the proceedings.

This office has issued several opinions addressing the tape recording of public meetings, and has looked to Section 25-41-9, which allows a public body to develop reasonable rules and regulations concerning the conduct of their meetings. MS AG Op., Smith (August 8, 2006); MS AG Op., Scott (November 20, 1991); MS AG Op., Garrett (May 3, 1990) (copies attached). In those opinions we opined that “while a board may develop reasonable rules regarding taping and/or recording of its public meetings, a flat prohibition against taping is unreasonable and violates the intent of the open meetings laws.”

While we have not specifically addressed permissible purposes for audio and video recording, it is the opinion of this office that the citizen's/public's purpose or intended use for the recording has no bearing on whether same should be allowed. Indeed, to attempt to limit the use of any such recording, or to prohibit recording unless it is for a specific enumerated reason, would clearly violate the intent of the Open Meetings Law.

Therefore, it is the opinion of this office that the Board may develop rules concerning the tape recording of its meetings to allow for minimal disruption thereof, but may not limit or restrict such recordings based upon the person's purpose in making the recording.

If this office may be of further assistance to you, please let us know.

Sincerely,

Jim Hood

Attorney General

By: Ellen O'neal

Special Assistant Attorney General

Again, please note that it clearly and emphatically stated that,

"While a board may develop reasonable rules regarding taping and/or recording of its public meetings, a flat prohibition against taping is unreasonable and violates the intent of the open meetings laws.”
Now, I included the text to show what is posted on the Attorney General's website and to silence the haters once again. I didn't twist the words or the statement; I gave it to you the way it was presented. So, can we stop with the slick talk about how I don't know what I'm talking about. On the contrary, I know exactly what I'm talking about; unfortunately, the ones on the City of Lumberton payroll are the ones in the dark. Hopefully, the Mississippi Ethics Commission will help them see the light. Cioa!

Comments

  1. I keep saying Merlene is a liar and a trouble maker she is not good for the City of Lumberton.
    Please listen this woman is not good!!!!!!! Please, Please send her home!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lumberton Informer don't park your car somewhere you shouldn't or not stop completely at a stop. If you do the
    Board and Marlene will have you arrested or Ben will just come to your home and beat you. LOL!!!!
    Oh I forgot and Tommy will help him also don't forget Informer you have the right to bear arms be careful
    at all times and watch your surroundings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Marlene, you are being messy get those minutes done if you do your job you will not have time for this.
    Go to work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You must realize, the only control Merlene has is over the board. Her husband comes to the office, sit for hours and talk to her like a stray dog. Let her have the control because she's under the thumb everywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Haters 101
    We have 5 Board of Aldermen, 2 whites,3 blacks and a black mayor. I am first going to gave you an
    example so follow carefully and listen:

    Django Unchained is a movie that I am sure you have seen or heard of. These are the
    Characters:

    Jamie Foxx Django
    Christoph Waltz Dr. King Schulte
    Leonardo Dicaprio Calvin Candie
    Samuel L. Jackson Stehphen

    We will start in the middle of the movie where Dr. King Schulte and Django are
    Visiting Candie Land Plantation for Django to buy his wife back which is
    Kerry Washington. They ride up to the Plantation and the first thing happen
    Stephen which is Samuel L. Jackson is angry because a black man is riding
    a horse and not walking, now remember the whites only look because they
    had never seen a black man on a horse before but Stephen (Which is black) take it to a new lever and than his Master ask him to get the guest bedrooms ready for them. Stephen again was upset. Now we are at the dinner table the deal is done and the money exchanged but Stephen is not happy so he finely put one and two together and everything went down hill after than. Candie Land Plantation was destroyed all because of one man (Stephen) which was a black man who rune everything.

    What we don’t understand is that yes we have racism but we also have another kinda of hate that will cause a Community be destroyed forever.

    We have 3 black Aldermen and a black mayor. Since they have been in office nothing has changed for blacks. We have two neighborhoods Love Quarters and Big Quarters, it took the Lumberton Informer to get them to mow the Cemeteries that their Parents, Grandparents, Sisters, Brothers, Children, etc. are buried. They don’t seem to have our interest at heart. I wonder way they even ran for office because all I see is that “Stephen” Mentality. We can’t blame anyone for this but our own selves. We go to the poles to vote praying for change, but we as a people must realize that we are our own problem sometime not working together as a people. The Informer may not be the person we want him to be but he has the City of Lumberton in mine by wanting better schools, jobs, neighborhoods, finances and protection coming to the City of Lumberton. I think if all people regardless of race come together in Lumberton we as a City will be Awesome.

    I apologize for placing this on the blog but I know we all read the Lumberton Informer and I would like for us as a people to take a hard look at ourselves and make a change. It’s not too late for the Board to come to it senses and pull the City together, all neighborhoods as one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Start by firing Marlene. She is just wasting time with mess. We need someone good that will help grow the City.

    ReplyDelete
  7. John is not a people person but we could hire him as City Clerk and hire some good clerks to help him, so that people who have a problem with him wouldn't have to speak directly to him. Problem solved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you mean I'm not a people person?

      Delete
    2. Jonathan, you do talk down to people but your are smart and we need you.

      Delete
  8. You could be the first black man to use "Stand Your Ground" if they come to your house!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They would probably change the laws if/when a black man stands his ground.

      Delete
  9. I am sure Marlene have other income and will be fine.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Who care if she has other income if it was someone else she would be gone with you messy self.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I get so tickled every time you use the phrase post menopausal brain. I was watching a commercial just a minute ago and they were selling a drug that helps stop vaginal dryness due to menopause and I was like that's the solution. Stop vaginal dryness, Merlene wouldn't be so irritable and she would then do her job. There you have it. The solution for Lumberton's problems is just a tube away. You're welcome!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Marlene is a liar!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree, Marlene is a liar.

    ReplyDelete
  14. A cream for vaginal dryness will not help messy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You can give up on the Board firing Marlene. She is just what they love MESS and she is a liar.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Marlene, have you completed the minutes? I know you read this site.

    ReplyDelete

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