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OM 16-12 Anderson v. Little Compton School Committee - Violation

The School Committee violated the OMA when it voted on the issue of appointment of a Superintendent while in executive session pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-5(a)(1). The plain language of the OMA and our previous findings have held that when a public body chooses to convene into executive session under this exemption, it must discuss only and not take a vote while in executive session. The vote, if any, must be conducted upon re-convening into open session. The School Committee violated the OMA when it failed to record in its open session minutes for its July 20, 2015 meeting that advanced written notice was provided to the three (3) applicants being interviewed for consideration and appointment for Superintendent. With respect to the allegation that the School Committee violated the OMA when it failed to articulate that the affected persons had received advanced written notice and that the School failed to articulate in open session the open call pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-4, this Department found that the Complainant was not aggrieved and therefore we did not address the merits of these allegations. More specifically, the Complainant acknowledged that he did not attend the July 20, 2015 meeting, and as such, any failure of the School Committee to articulate these notices in open session would not have affected him. The School Committee further violated the OMA when it failed to record and enter into its open session minutes for the July 20, 2015 meeting, the reason for holding a closed meeting, by a citation to a subdivision of R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-5(a), and a statement specifying the nature of the business to be discussed. The Complainant further alleged that the School Committee violated the OMA when it failed to disclose in its minutes, as well as in the July 20, 2015 open session, a "record by individual members of any vote taken." Because the evidence demonstrates that the Complainant was already aware of the individual member vote, and had already obtained a record from the School Committee concerning the individual member votes, we concluded that the Complainant was not aggrieved by this allegation.

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