East Providence councilman-elect calls for advisory opinion about appointment discussion

Botelho seeks clarification from attorney general regarding Open Meetings Act

EastBayRI.com ·

EAST PROVIDENCE — Ward 3 City Councilman-elect Joe Botelho has requested an advisory opinion from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office regarding the procedural mechanisms of the "council-elect" to discuss appointments prior to inauguration while still conforming with the state’s open meetings act.

"As members of the council-elect, I have recently discovered that we are indeed subject to the open meetings act. There appears to be a 'black hole’ in the law that outlines the proper procedures that members-elect of a public body are to follow," Mr. Botelho said.

The Ward 3 councilman-elect went on to say the law as currently written suggests any discussion of whom would be the next appointed mayor, solicitor or as municipal court judges would be a violation of the law until the moment after the new members were sworn in, which takes place Monday, Dec. 5.

"The way the law is currently written, I suppose we could discuss these matters directly after we are sworn in, but who would preside over such a meeting, since the mayor would not yet have been appointed?" Mr. Botelho added.

Mr. Botelho said he expects the AG’s office to act swiftly since the inauguration date of December 5 is fast approaching. The new council's first official scheduled meeting is set for the following evening, Tuesday, Dec. 6.

"We owe it to the people of this city, the due diligence of proper deliberation while following the law. And that’s what we’ll do," he concluded.

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