BILOXI -- The Commission on Marine Resources met in a special meeting Thursday after notifying the public by putting a notice on the door of the Bolton Building four hours before the noon session, officials said.
Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Jamie Miller called the meeting a "workshop" to update commission members on the agency.
"I've committed to hosting a workshop each quarter with the commission, just informational reasons," he said after the meeting, attended by no one but the commission and DMR staff. "This is the second one we had; we had one on December. I guess we will do another one, maybe in June."
Normally, DMR sends an agenda to a mailing list of media a couple days before its meetings. Miller said he didn't have a problem with the shorter notice because "no actions are taken."
"I don't mind the public being here," he said when asked if he didn't want the public at the meeting. "We don't have a public comments section but certainly we don't mind the public being here."
He said the five commissioners -- Chairman Jimmy Taylor, Steve Bosarge, Shelby Drummond, Richard Gollott and Ernie Zimmerman -- were briefed on the progress of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, the financial state of the agency, the Lyman fish hatchery and on DMR-related bills winding their way through the Legislature.
"Basically, it was good news," Miller said. "We've turned the corner financially. Cuts and budget-conscious decisions we made have paid off now."
He said even though he doesn't expect to get the 4 percent budget increase he asked the Legislature for, he doesn't expect to have to cut any programs or lay off any people.
"I don't see any changes this year," he said.
Sen. Brice Wiggins, who wrote the Marine Resources Accountability and Reorganization Act that's awaiting House action, said he would hope the DMR would not only follow the Open Meetings law but also would give the public as much notice as possible.
"Certainly with DMR undergoing reorganization and the Legislature trying to make sure they are a more transparent agency, I hope they would recognize that -- and so far they have -- and follow all those rules and get notice out as soon as they can," Wiggins said. "It's certainly something worth looking into. I will follow up with Director Miller to see what happened."
The state's Open Meetings Act requires agencies to post notice of a special meeting at least an hour before the meeting in a building where the body normally meets.
The head of the state Ethics Commission said it appears the CMR meeting was legal.
"It's slightly antiquated, but most notice provisions in law are kind of antiquated," commission Executive Director Tom Hood said. But he hasn't heard of anyone asking to update the law.
State agencies are required to post notice of regular meetings at www.ms.gov/dfa/pmn. In fact, the DMR has posted the agenda for its Tuesday meeting there.