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OM 18-13 Belmore v. Newport City Council Violation

Complainant alleged that the City Council violated the OMA when it discussed the process for selecting a new councilmember outside of the public purview. Complainant also alleged that the interviews of candidates in executive session was improper. The submitted affidavits revealed that numerous City Councilors had conversations regarding the open City Council seat, all outside the public purview. We found that these individual interactions collectively added up to a quorum of the City Council. See In re: Pawtucket City Council, ADV OM 05-01. By discussing the process for selecting the new City Councilor outside the public purview, the City Council violated the OMA. As such, this Department directed the City Council to provide a supplemental response addressing why the violations we found should not be considered "willful or knowing" violations. We also found that the interviews of candidates were appropriate for executive session pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-5(a)(1).

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