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OM 20-47 Driggs v. Tiverton Town Council No violation

The Complainant alleged the Council violated the OMA by discussing certain applicants for a Town solicitor position during an executive session. Specifically, the Complainant alleged that the notice to the applicants being discussed that was sent pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-5(a)(1) did not adequately describe the business that would occur during the executive session, and that for that reason, the related executive session public agenda item for the executive session was also insufficient. Complainant also alleged that it was improper to discuss the qualifications of the applicants, who were not Town personnel, in executive session. This Office determined that Complainant lacked standing to challenge the sufficiency of the notice that was sent to the applicants because we were presented with no evidence that Complainant was an "aggrieved person" related to the allegation and none of the applicants submitted complaints. Next, we found there was no evidence to support Complainant's contention that the public agenda item did not adequately specify the nature of the business that was discussed as required by R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-6(b). Finally, we noted that this Office's precedent has repeatedly held that discussions regarding applicant qualifications that encompass job performance and character may permissibly be held in executive session pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 42-46-5(a)(1). Accordingly, we found no violations.

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