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MA Attorney General’s Office sides with Redevelopment Authority on Cadime complaint

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The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has sided with the Fall River Redevelopment Authority concerning an open meeting law complaint filed by Fall River City Councilor Shawn Cadime.

According to Sarah Chase from the AG’s Office, a complaint from Shawn Cadime, on January 9, 2019, was filed alleging that the Fall River Redevelopment Authority violated the Open Meeting Law. Cadime alleged that the Authority voted at its November 16, 2018, meeting to terminate Ken Fiola’s (Jobs for Fall River Inc.) contract, even though the possibility of such a vote was not listed on the meeting notice.

Chase found that the Authority did not violate the Open Meeting Law due to the fact that the discussion and vote to terminate the contract was not anticipated in advance of the meeting, but rather arose from the discussion of the topics that were included in the meeting notice. Over the course of the meeting, the Authority’s members learned about instance where JOBS was not performing related duties which led to the termination. As stated in the statement, “the motion and resulting vote were not required to be included on the meeting notice as they were not reasonably anticipated by the Chair. Accordingly, we find no violation of the Open Meeting Law.”

The Attorney General did recommend, however, that public bodies table unplanned topics that might be of significant interest to the public in order to include them in a meeting notice for a subsequent meeting and give the public a greater opportunity to see the decisions made.

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