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Legal Contract Saga Ends for BCWA

The Bristol County Water Authority board of directors has approved a new contract with Keogh & Sweeney of Pawtucket.

After three votes, four meetings, and complaints of Open Meetings laws violations, the Bristol County Water Authority board of directors on Feb. 27 voted to approve a legal services contract with a new firm.

The vote ended a relationship with attorney Sandra Mack, who had represented the BCWA for more than 20 years with a couple of different law firms.

Marina Peterson, a blogger for Bristol-Warren Patch, reported that board members voted 6 to 1, with one abstention, to hire Keogh & Sweeney of Pawtucket, replacing longtime counsel Cameron & Mittleman.

Chairman Allen Klepper read a statement from Cameron & Mittleman prior to the vote, in which the firm asked to be withdrawn from consideration.

The vote ended a process that took almost two months to resolve, after board members voted 5 to 2 to keep Cameron & Mittleman on Dec. 20, two days after holding a meeting to consider the applicants.

Residents later charged that the Dec. 18 session was held illegally, since an agenda had not been filed with the Rhode Island Secretary of State's office, and that the Dec. 20 vote was improperly held.

Board members again voted for Cameron & Littleman on Jan. 16 by a 4 to 3 vote — which then led to confusion over the BCWA by-laws and the state law governing the agency.

While the agency's by-laws generally require a majority vote for most matters, state law sets the minimum number of votes at five for resolutions like the legal contract.

On Jan. 18, BCWA Executive Director Pamela Marchand issued a statement saying that since the Jan. 16 vote did not reach the five votes required under state law, a third vote needed to be taken.

Manifold Witness March 01, 2013 at 01:13 PM
So where are all the BCWA records? (See12/20/12 excerpt.) Allan Klepper: …“Total history, I guess we can all agree maybe I should have been gone a long time ago” … “And she (Sandra Mack) has all the (BCWA) records. And as she pointed out in her resume proposal they keep at no charge all the minutes, all the records kept for us at no charge. She has all the records. And I’ve gone back, I have records at home which many of you don’t. All of those ah all of those arrangements with the ah with the Anawan Club I have all those. She’s got all the rest. All the original legislation. All of those things. The details”.… (Another Director objects.) Mr. Klepper: (gets a little loud) “I know you disagree and you made your piece and so I’m making mine!”…“But by the same token in matters of annual accountants when I was a town manager my policy was to change the accountant every 5 years because I wanted a different set of eyes ‘cause it was it had a different purpose in mind and so I would change the accountant ah the auditor the auditor of the town at least every 5 years because that was the policy, but in this case that doesn’t apply I believe to this kind of a case.” Pamela Marchand:… “and she says she’s been working with Richard Licht on on what we need to do with the $6.9 million”….“Again I keep coming back to the Massachusetts problem” … “Whatever we do with it, it’s gonna be a problem over the next two years”…
Lorraine F March 01, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Manifold, I haven't been as close to the BCWA situation as you appear to be, but isn't it customary that when the new lawyer comes on board, they want all the records? What I'm surprised at in your post is that the records appear to be spread around. How did that happen? Mostly I'm just glad that BCWA finally made a decision to use 100% Scituate water. When I moved from North Providence (Scituate water) to Barrington, I noticed the difference and put in a water filter. When the filter kept clogging up, I started buying the drinking water. How it went for so long is a mystery (or is it).

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