BCWA Legal Contract Will Need a Third Vote

The Bristol County Water Authority board will have to vote a third time on its legal counsel.


A third vote will be taken on the Bristol County Water Authority's legal contract, the agency announced on Thursday.

Board Chairman Allen Klepper confirmed in an interview that the 4-3 vote taken on Jan. 16 — the second time in a month that the group voted on the matter — was one "aye" vote short of the number needed to approve the contract, according to state law.

"We need to take another vote," Klepper said. "Usually, in the past, we have voted on almost all issues with a majority of a quorum."

However, Executive Director Pamela Marchand issued a statement on Thursday that explained the contract requires a majority of five votes.

In the statement, Marchand wrote that "a discrepancy was discovered" between the agency's by-laws and the state law governing the agency, the Bristol County Water Act.

The by-laws — essentially the rulebook for the BCWA — state: "any action to be taken by the Authority may be authorized by resolution approved by a majority of the members of the Board of directors present at any regular or special meeting at which a quorum is present."

Since there were seven board members present on Wednesday night, four votes would be enough to approve the contract under the by-laws.

However, the state law requires "a resolution [to be] approved by not less than five of the directors at any regular or special meeting at which a quorum is present," meaning that the legal services pact needed five votes to pass.

"Therefore, in order to concur with both the By-Laws and the BCW Act, the Board of Directors of the Bristol County Water Authority will hold a new Vote on the legal services, whereby five (5) votes will be needed to take action," Marchand said in the statement.

On Jan. 16, Klepper and board members John Jannitto of Warren, Paul Bishop of Bristol, and Vice Chairman William Gosselin voted in favor of renewing the BCWA contract with Cameron & Mittleman.

Kevin Fitta and Robert Allio of Barrington, and Ray Palmieri of Warren voted against.

Allio switched from his previous vote.

The board decided to hold the second vote after residents complained about the handling of the initial vote on Dec. 20, claiming that a Dec. 18 session was held illegally because it had not been properly advertised under the Rhode Island Open Meetings Law.

marina peterson January 19, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Actually David, Ms. Marchand has stated that the B&E audit (for which we maid over $30,000,.00) is of no use and that the people who conducted the audit did not have the proper experience. (???) It didn't really say what they wanted to hear.
marina peterson January 19, 2013 at 03:14 AM
The photo on this blog is priceless!!!
Jack Baillargeron January 19, 2013 at 03:22 AM
It sure is Marina it sure is. Should have a "Caption contest" on it lol.
Jack Baillargeron January 19, 2013 at 03:37 AM
It is so frustrating to see the BCWA so publicy make a fool of itself on issues that someone in kindergarten could understand. Like I have said so many times the open meetings law is as simple to read and understand as the Jack/Jill book. They wrotetheir By-laws whch had to comply with Roberts Rules of Order and the Enabling legislation that was written over 20 years ago. I find it unbelievable or as Hillary would say, "a suspension of disbelief" that these rules are not known. Ms. Marchand of all people who is chairman of the water resoure board and has dealth with the BCWA for years on issue concerning the enabling legislation. She has to know or should know the score. If not then we should have known she was inept in that department before hiring in my opinion. I have never heard of any head of any organization, Town Council etc that uses Robert Rules does not know the voting procedures which are also layed out in that book. So if they are in the Enabling Legislation and the by-laws, how do these people especially the legal eagles not have a clue what the procedures are. Same as the open meeting fiasco. (we know there is an open meetings law, we just have no clue how to read it). Shame on them. Dissolve this BCWA immeadiatly and turn it over to the State. Ratepayer's and Taxpayers have suffered long enough with this cash cow that a burden on the tri-town area replete with either corruption, ineptitude, or just plain stupidity in my opinion anyway.
Jack Baillargeron January 19, 2013 at 03:49 AM
I swear if I could still go to the meetings every week like I use too, I would be thrown out everytime for cracking up laughing at this Circus. I feel sorry for some of the New Board members who are trying to make a difference and keep hitting a brick wall of th old guard. They have my respect, the others; not so much ;-}


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