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OM 17-06 Appolonia v. West Warwick Board of Canvassers Violation

The Complainant alleged that the BOC violated the OMA when it discussed and voted on a matter that was not specifically listed on the meeting's agenda. Specifically, we examined whether the BOC's denial of a motion for issuance of a subpoena was adequately noticed by the meeting's agenda item "STRANAHAN VS. PADULA HEARING-STATUS." Based on the Rhode Island Supreme Court's decisions in Tanner v. Town of East Greenwich, 880 A.2d 784 (R.I. 2005), Anolik v. Zoning Board of Review of the City of Newport, 64 A.3d 1171 (R.I. 2013), and Pontarelli v. Rhode Island Board Council on Elementary and Secondary Education et al., 151 A.3d 301 (R.I. 2016), we found that the agenda item here did not sufficiently specify the nature of the business to be discussed and therefore violated the OMA. We further noted that the BOC's quasi-judicial status did not exempt it from the OMA's requirements and that the BOC's request for flexibility in conducting meetings is already provided for by the OMA.

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