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Report: Mississippi city broke law in closed garbage talks

A hearing officer says a southwest Mississippi city government violated the state’s open meetings law in reviewing potential garbage collection contracts behind closed doors.

The finding against the Natchez mayor and aldermen was released Friday.

The board could face a $500 fine for the violation, but lawyer Leonard Van Slyke tells The Natchez Democrat that such fines are rare on first offense. The decision is scheduled to be made Sept. 26 by the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

The closed meeting brought complaints from the newspaper, the Mississippi Justice Institute and local residents.

The contract increases garbage collection prices by 25 percent.

The report notes citizens should be able to attend meetings and observe everything.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell says he didn’t intend to break the law and will comply going forward.

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