Columbus mayor fined for open meetings violation

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) – The state Ethics Commission has imposed a $500 fine on Columbus Mayor Robert Smith after finding that he violated a Mississippi Open Meetings Act last year.

The Dispatch reports the penalty stems from a complaint the newspaper sent to the commission last year after Smith sent a letter to the president of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors regarding the operation and management of a firing range.

Smith said in the letter that he had “discussed this matter with each” councilman and that he and the council proposed that the city maintain the range and bill the county for half the costs.

The Dispatch alleged that city leaders, by not discussing the matter in a public meeting, violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.

The commission, in a preliminary report Monday, agreed.