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OM 19-17 Angelo v. Westerly Town Council Violation Found

The Complainant alleged that the Westerly Town Council ("Town Council") violated the Open Meetings Act ("OMA") when it met outside the public purview on or before November 26, 2018 for the purpose of selecting the president of the Town Council. The submitted evidence established that three of the seven Town Council members discussed the selection of the Town Council president outside of a public meeting. This conversation was then relayed to a fourth Town Council member. We found that the nature of this conduct constituted a collective discussion about a topic over which the Town Council had authority and was sufficient to create a rolling quorum, violating the OMA. We did not find injunctive relief appropriate, as the selection of the Town Council president was done at a properly noticed open meeting. Nor did we find evidence of a willful or knowing violation, as the evidence indicated that the Town Council's actions resulted from a mistaken belief that they were discussing a political matter that was not subject to the OMA. VIOLATION FOUND

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