January 18, 2021

Seekonk Open Meeting Law Complaint Dismissed

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An Open Meeting Law complaint filed against the Board of Selectmen has been dismissed by the town legal counsel. Doreen Taylor, a former selectwoman, told the state Attorney General’s Office the alleged violation occurred on November 16. The November 18 meeting agenda was made available on November 12. “The Chairman closed comments from the public on Monday, November 16 at noon time,” Taylor wrote in her December 1 complaint. At 3:30 pm, an amended agenda was distributed. The two additional items were a vote on Dean Isabella’s appointment as Chief of Police and approval of the Police Chief contract. “It would be preferred that the Board of Selectmen rescind their vote on these two items and whatever action they have taken as a result of it until such time the public has an opportunity to be heard properly,” Taylor added.

“There’s never been a requirement for citizen input,” Town Administrator Shawn Cadime said at Wednesday’s meeting. “There is no requirement from a legal standpoint.” The Board had allowed members of the public to share their concerns when meetings were being held in person. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, selectmen are now holding meetings virtually with no public comments.

“If memory serves, we’ve amended the agenda in the past during Covid when all of this was going on and there was no such complaint then either,” said Selectman David Andrade. “As long as your amended agendas are before the 48 hour period, it’s acceptable. Anything after 48 hours is a violation,” Cadime added.

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