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OM 20-14 Pierson v. Coventry Town Council Violation found

Complainant alleged that the Council violated the OMA at its October 15, 2019 meeting when it improperly convened into executive session pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-5(a)(1) to discuss the Town Manager search without discussing the job performance, character, or physical or mental health of any specific person(s). The Complainant also alleged the Council voted to increase the Town Manager salary offer outside of open session and failed to report the vote in open session. The Council acknowledged that no specific Town Manager candidate was discussed during the October 15 executive session. Our in camera review of the executive session minutes revealed that the Council reached a "consensus" regarding raising the advertised salary offer, which was not disclosed upon the Council's reconvening into open session. For these reasons, we found the Council violated the OMA. We did not find a willful or knowing violation at this time. We instructed the Council to unseal the relevant executive session minutes and disclose any votes taken. VIOLATION FOUND.

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