AG: East Greenwich Town Council violated R.I. Open Meetings Law

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The attorney general’s office has found that the East Greenwich Town Council violated state Open Meetings Laws when it voted in June to implement its “One Town” restructuring plan behind closed doors and again in August, when a consultant presented a report on the firefighters’ contract without proper notice.

The attorney general’s office on Friday issued findings with regard to complaints brought by two former town employees — Pamela Aveyard and Sharon Kitchin — who were laid off as a result of the restructuring at a June 26 meeting. Resident David Caldwell and East Greenwich News reporter Elizabeth McNamara lodged separate complaints regarding the council’s failure to provide proper notice that a consultant would be presenting a report on Aug. 28 about the financial impact of the firefighters’ contracts.

In both instances, the attorney general’s office found that the town had failed to properly alert the public about what would be discussed at the meetings.

According to the attorney general’s ruling, the Town Council violated state law when it failed to specifically advertise that it would be discussing eliminating Aveyard and Kitchin’s positions at the closed-door session in June. The agenda simply said that the council would take up litigation and collective bargaining. The council, however, voted to consolidate town and school finance, purchasing, human resources and other services. Read more…