One of the safeguards for the proper disposal of public property in Mississippi is the requirement that notices of such sales be printed in the state's newspapers. Expanding the notification process to include websites would also enhance public awareness.
But it need not be an either/or situation.
Yet that is what Senate Bill 2137 would do: replace public newspaper notices of sales of public property with notices on the Internet.
SB 2137 deals only with property belonging to airport authorities in Mississippi.
But this approach could easily be extended to the disposal of public property belonging to other agencies of state government.
The proposal already has passed the state Senate by a vote of 47-0 and is now under consideration by the House committee on ports, harbors and airports. A majority of that committee's members come from the Coast, including Vice Chairman Randall Patterson of Biloxi. Other members include David Baria of Waveland, Charles Busby of Pascagoula, Jeffrey S. Guice of Ocean Springs, Greg Haney of Gulfport, John Read of Gautier and Sonya Williams-Barnes of Gulfport. We urge them to reject SB 2137.
The disposal of public property deserves as much attention as possible so that as much money as possible can be obtained for it. The more fanfare such sales receive, the better.
We agree with the Mississippi Press Association that if SB 2137 is enacted it will weaken rather than strengthen the public's ability to track government actions. This will be especially true in areas of the state where Internet access remains far below the norm.
The public is entitled to more access to government activity, not less.
This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board,which consists of President-Publisher Glen Nardi,Vice President and Executive Editor Stan Tiner,Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Flora S. Point,Audience and Human Resources Director Wanda Howell,Marketing and Interactive Director John McFarland and Associate Editor Tony Biffle. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.