June 9, 2014 9:40:17 AM
The Mississippi Ethics Commission's website shows each Columbus councilman has at least one missing statement of economic interest filing since 2009, while two submissions are missing for city mayor Robert Smith and city councilman Bill Gavin.
All statewide, district, county and municipal elected officials must file SEIs with the Miss. Ethics Commission each year. Incumbents must file every year on or before May 1, while appointees must file within 30 days of assuming office.
The one-page statement provides a brief snapshot of officials' economic ties, including income earned from all businesses and entities, control or ownership of companies and work and financial ties of spouses and other persons who reside with them.
Anyone who fails to file within a year of the applicable deadline or who knowingly fails to disclose required information can be fined up to $10,000, according to the commission's website.
Gavin, councilmen Joseph Mickens, Gene Taylor and Charlie Box have filed statements this year for 2013, but filings for Smith, Kabir Karriem and Marty Turner are not on the website.
Also missing from the site are postings from Smith in 2011 and Gavin in 2011 and 2012. SEI 2011 submissions are not shown for Mickens, Taylor and Box.
MEC's database shows Turner filed an SEI last year when he was a candidate for city councilman, but there are no other filings from him since he was elected.
MEC Assistant Director Chris Graham deferred any official comment from the state office to MEC Executive Director Tom Hood, who could not be reached for this story, but said common procedure for elected officials who miss filing deadlines is to contact them and remind them to file an SEI. Most officials, Graham said, file immediately after being notified that they missed the deadline.
Starkville Dispatch reporter Carl Smith contributed to this report.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
2. Last two antebellum homes in Starkville for sale; one could be torn down STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
3. Suspect arrested in armed robbery, kidnapping case COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. MDOT unveils Highway 82 interchange improvements COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY