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Open Government Coalition Calls on East Greenwich Town Council to Cancel Meeting



From a press release:

Today the open government coalition ACCESS/RI wrote a letter to Town Council President Suzanne McGee Cienki asking her to cancel tonight’s meeting. ACCESS/RI believes the agenda for tonight’s meeting, specifically the item to ratify retroactively “all” the decisions of the Town Manager, violates the OMA [Open Meetings Act] requirement for public notice. That agenda item is a case of the Council thumbing its nose at the public’s right to know what action the Council is taking.

On November 8th, Judge Susan McGuirl of the Rhode Island Superior Court issued a decision finding the East Greenwich Town Council violated the state’s Open Meetings Act. In her decision, Judge McGuirl wrote, “It is apparent that the Town Council willfully and knowingly violated the OMA,” and fined the Council $2,000 as well as voided the Council’s hiring of Town Manager Gayle Corrigan. Days after Judge McGuirl’s decision, the Town Council has posted an agenda to once again hire Ms Corrigan as Town Manager and to ratify “all actions taken by Gayle Corrigan as Town Manager from June 19, 2017.”

It is insulting to all the residents of East Greenwich to see the Town Council doubling down on violations of the Open Meetings Act mere days after being found in violation of that statute. This agenda is a quintessential example of how not to be transparent with the public.

ACCESS/Rhode Island is a coalition of non-profit organizations and First Amendment advocates in the Rhode Island dedicated to ensuring government at all levels be accessible to the public. Founded in 1996, ACCESS/RI stands for “All Citizens Committed to Ending Secrecy within our State.” Member organizations include the Rhode Island Press Association, the ACLU of Rhode Island, Common Cause Rhode Island, the Rhode Island League of Women Voters, the New England First Amendment Coalition along with journalism professors, television journalists and other First Amendment advocates. A copy of the coalition’s letter to the Town Council is attached.

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Read the letter here:

November 14, 2017 ACCESS RI EG TC Agenda Ltr.

About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.