BCWA to Hold Re-Vote on Legal Counsel

The Bristol County Water Authority Board is scheduled to meet today at 4:15 pm in Warren.


Following recent protests by residents about the handling of its contract for legal services, the Bristol County Water Authority board of directors is scheduled to meet today at 4:15 at its offices in Warren to take another vote on the matter.

Blogger Marina Peterson and residents Jeff Black and Gary Morse recently raised the issue after the BCWA board held interviews at a Dec. 18 meeting that was not advertised, then voted to renew its contract with longtime attorney, Sandra Mack, a partner with Cameron & Mittleman of Providence, on Dec. 20.

At the board's Jan. 3 meeting at Warren Town Hall, Morse and Black challenged the legality of the vote, saying the prior meeting — which Chairman Allen Klepper termed a "closed session" that had been supported by the opinion of another community's lawyers — was held illegally.

No agenda for the Dec. 18 meeting was filed with the Rhode Island Secretary of State's office; two days later, board members referred to the discussion from that meeting in voting to extend the Cameron & Littleman contract.

On Jan. 9, Cameron & Littleman attorney Sally McDonald told the board that state law governing such "working meetings" is "unclear," and suggested that the board convene another meeting to hold interviews and take another vote.

Klepper called the situation "an unintentional error," adding: "I accept responsibility for that."

This afternoon's meeting agenda includes one interview in public session, and two in executive session, as allowed under a section of Rhode Island's Open Meeting Law, General Law 42-46-5(a)(1), covering discussion of job performance by public boards.

A re-convening of the meeting to open session is scheduled for 6 pm, with public comment and a vote expected before adjournment.

Jack Baillargeron January 16, 2013 at 05:48 PM
There is no logical reason to hire Mack or "Cameron & Littleman" in my opinion. The fact that there is still to this day a lack of knowledge by the BCWA legal arm on open meetings laws, to include the Board Chairman is just unfathomable. Talk about the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing geesh. I am having a hard time seeing anything different happening at the BCWA at all. It is still appearing "status quo" and no public information being put out on its budget to the people in a timely and specific manner. Disgusting as usual.
Jack Baillargeron January 16, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Forgot to mention the fact they are so much higher than the other bidders also. That isnot fiscal responsibility. Nor is it right that an associate has to be used because Mack cannot practice in MA. The way the tout her knowledge and experience with the BCWA as a reason for keeping her seems suspect in my opinion. Should not the most experiences and knowledgable person be doing the advocation for the BCWA in MA? Are the other law firms incapable of doing the job because they would be new? How does that make sense? No-one could ever bid for the job and win with that kind of reasoning. Had to laugh when "Klepper" said Mack holds the records at no charge. Should that not be in the bid contract so we can see what the other bidders would charge for holding records? Sorry looks like the fix was in all the time in my opinion.
Manifold Witness January 17, 2013 at 01:40 AM
There was a massive turnout by ratepayers. They were lined up 5 deep to voice their objections. Oh, wait a minute. There were only about 5 people who cared to make it to the meeting. The BCWA Board members voted 4 to 3 to keep Mrs. Mack (surprise, surprise!). Two didn't even bother to show up. What have we learned? There is something very, very wrong over there at the BCWA. Gee, we wonder what it is. And you really can teach old coots new tricks - the play went much more smoothly the second time around. LOL. ;-)
Bristol County Anonymous January 17, 2013 at 02:36 AM
The directors that voted for Mrs. Mack offered nothing to refute the numerous specific objections that the ratepayers raised. What little those directors said to support Mrs. Mack was conclusory, and made no sense in light of all the objections based on fact. Like Judge Judy says: “if it doesn’t make sense it’s a lie”. LOL
Somewhere out there January 18, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Why show up to object when the outcome is pre-determined? Especially when at 4:15 many people aren't out of work yet. I have a hard time justifying wasting a vacation day to go argue something in front of a group of people that don't care what I say.


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