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OM 16-04 Mathews v. Newport City Council No Violation

The Complainant alleged the City Council violated the OMA during one of its meetings when a quorum of the members met just prior to the start of the meeting to discuss a matter over which the City Council had supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power. R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-2(a). Statements from the four (4) Council members who were outside the meeting venue deny any such improper discussion. Additionally, the telephone records produced evidence text messages were sent/received by two (2) of the four (4) Council members just prior to the commencement of the meeting indicating they were both running late. This also led this Department to the conclusion that it would have been virtually impossible for a quorum of the City Council to have had a substantive conversation concerning City Council business in the time frame in question. Based upon the evidence presented, we cannot conclude that a quorum of City Council members discussed a matter over which the City Council had "supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power." R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-2(a). We find no violation.

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