January 28, 2022

Rehoboth Selectmen Seek Assistance For Meeting Minutes


The Board of Selectmen are seeking assistance in preparing minutes of their weekly meetings. In a complaint filed October 3 with the state Attorney General, Patrick Higgins alleged the board violated the Open Meeting Law by not approving minutes of past meetings, including those of “March 22, March 29, April 12, April 26, and May 3 within 3 meetings or 30 days whichever is longer.” Higgins is a resident of Northport, Alabama and has a Post Office Box in Swansea.

The town’s legal counsel, Katherine McNamara Feodoroff, responded to Higgins in a letter dated October 6. The regulations governing the Open Meeting Law provide “minutes of all open and executive sessions shall be created and approved in a timely manner. A “timely manner” will generally be considered to be within the next three public body meetings or within 30 days, whichever is later, unless the public body can show good cause for further delay. The Attorney General encourages public bodies to approve minutes at the next meeting whenever possible.” Feodoroff noted “internal staffing issues, which caused delays in preparing minutes, caused a backlog on the creation of minutes. Understanding its obligation under law, the Board has undertaken to fulfill this obligation and dedicated a staff member to completing this task.”

“You can only work so fast and you can’t make people work,” Selectman Michael Deignan said Monday. “We’re doing the best that we can.”


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