Councilman Ware Breaks Protocol to Address Open Meetings Act Violations by Bar Ordinance Committee.

It a rare move at a March 19th, 2012 Hattiesburg city council meeting Ward 4 Councilman Dave Ware departed from traditional city council protocol, addressing concerns raised by Joseph Rawson in the citizen forum. Rawson a regular at council meetings went before the city's leadership to bring to their attention The Open Meetings Act of Mississippi and the potential violation of this act when Mayor Johnny Dupree appointed his Bar Ordinance Advisory Committee and when the committee held meetings. The committee, which consisted mainly of city officials and employees, was drafting legislation to be  submitted directly to the council for a vote.  They never kept minutes or even meeting times; thereby raising questions whether this committee was operating lawfully under the Mississippi Open Meetings Act.

After Rawson spoke Ward 4 Councilman Dave Ware asked council president Kim Bradley if he could address Rawson.  Council president said," Mr. Ware, we normally don't address but..."  Councilman Ware then interjected and distanced the city council from the committee by  saying, "This council had nothing to do with the formation of, the policy of, the meetings held by the committee." Ware, Vice President of the city council appeared distance the council from this committee's formation; laying it's sole responsibility at the office of Mayor Johnny Dupree. City officials rarely if ever address citizens in the citizen's forum portion of the bi-monthly Monday meetings.  A detailed analysis of the Mississippi Open Meetings Act can be found here.

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