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OM15-17 Fagnant v. Woonsocket City Council Violation Found

The Complainant alleged the Woonsocket City Council ("City Council") violated the OMA during its May 4, 2015 meeting when, under the agenda item "Good and Welfare," members of the City Council began discussing him, yet that topic was not properly advertised. The OMA requires all public bodies provide supplemental public notice of all meetings at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting. See R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-6(b). "This notice shall include the date the notice was posted, the date, time and place of the meeting, and a statement specifying the nature of the business to be discussed." Id. (Emphasis added). We concluded that the agenda item, "Good and Welfare" lacked any identifying information concerning the nature of the business to be discussed. The meeting agenda contained "vague and indefinite notice to the public" and "one lacking in specificity." It provided the barest of information, yet a review of the meeting audio reveals a discussion of several topics, including one concerning the Complainant. These discussions under the agenda topic of "Good and Welfare" violated the OMA. See Anolik v. Zoning Board of Review of the City of Newport, 64 A.3d 1171 (R.I. 2013).

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