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OM 18-02 Aveyard v. East Greenwich Town Council / Kitchin v. East Greenwich Town Council Violation

The Complainants allege that the Town Council violated the OMA when it voted to terminate their respective positions at its June 26, 2017 executive session meeting, yet the agenda was not specific enough to adequately information the public of the nature of the business to be discussed. The agenda indicated that the Town Council would convene into executive session pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-5(a)(2), "[s]essions pertaining to collective bargaining or litigation, or work session pertaining to collective bargaining or litigation." Our review of the meeting minutes revealed the discussion concerned a Town restructuring plan that included layoffs of municipal employees. The Town alleged this topic was proper for executive session since the Town Solicitor advised the Town Council members of any legal implications in terminating Town employees. We concluded, however, after the Town Council discussed litigation issues that could have surrounded the terminations, the discussion and/or vote to implement its plan (and by extension Complainants' terminations) did not relate to "litigation." Since we found that the terminations violated the OMA, we directed the Town Council to re-consider its June 26, 2017 action at a properly noticed subsequent meeting. We found no evidence to support the allegation that a quorum of the Town Council met outside the purview of a properly noticed public meeting on June 5, 2017, or on June 19, 2017.

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