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OM 17-19 Brunetti, et al. v. Town of Johnston No Violation

Complainants alleged numerous OMA violations relating to a January 10, 2017 Town Council meeting. With respect to the alleged defect in the notice for the meeting, we found that several Complainants attended the meeting in question and that no Complainant sufficiently articulated how they were aggrieved by the alleged defect. Accordingly, we found that Complainants were not aggrieved. See R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-8(a); see also Graziano v. Rhode Island State Lottery Commission, 810 A.2d 215 (R.I. 2002). With respect to the allegations regarding insufficient venue, we noted that the OMA "does not require a public body to provide unlimited seating." See In re Town of West Warwick, ADV OM 99-02; see also Daniels v. Warwick Long Term Facilities Planning Committee, OM 14-02. The evidence demonstrated that the venue had a capacity of eighty-seven. Additionally, the affidavits submitted by the Town revealed no evidence of preferential treatment with respect to seating, no evidence that the Town knew the attendance would exceed the meeting space until about an hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin, and no evidence that moving the meeting to a larger space was feasible or possible. We simply found nothing in the OMA that required the Town to move its January 10, 2017 meeting beyond its scheduled location under these circumstances. With respect to the allegations that the Mayor conducted a "rolling quorum" with members of the Town Council, we similarly found no violation. Based on the undisputed facts, we found no evidence that the Mayor served as a conduit that connected the three separate communications with Town Council members and therefore found no evidence of any collective discussion that would constitute a "meeting" under the OMA. See Guarino, OM 14-07.

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