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OM 21-14 Lamendola v. East Greenwich School Committee Violation found

The Complainant alleged that the School Committee violated OMA when it did not properly report out executive session votes and vote to seal the minutes of an executive session in connection with an April 9, 2019 meeting. The Complainant argued that the statute of limitations regarding this meeting had not yet expired as of the filing of his complaint because he did not have notice of the alleged violation until August 17, 2020. The School Committee provided undisputed evidence that the April 9, 2019 minutes were approved on April 23, 2019 and thus argued that the Complainant's allegations were time-barred. Even if viewing the facts most favorably to the Complainant, the statute of limitations regarding the April 9, 2019 meeting expired two-days after the Complaint was filed with this Office. Regarding the merits of the allegations, the School Committee provided affidavits that the executive session minutes were sealed by a majority vote of the School Committee, but that this vote was inadvertently recorded in the executive session, rather than open session, minutes. Based on the record before us, the School Committee failed to record the vote to seal the executive session minutes in their open session minutes in violation of the OMA. Because the statute of limitations has expired, this Office is not able to pursue any relief related to this violation, but we encourage the School Committee to revise the April 9, 2019 open session minutes to reflect the vote to seal the executive session minutes. VIOLATION FOUND

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