BCWA to re-interview legal firms today

BCWA

The Bristol County Water Authority board of directors is expected to re-interview three legal firms tonight, according to a meeting agenda.

The meeting will be called to order at 4:15 p.m. The first interview is scheduled to be held in open session at 4:20 p.m. Two subsequent interviews are expected to be held in executive session beginning at 4:45 p.m.

The meeting is scheduled to return to open session at 6 p.m. followed by public input and a potential vote to name legal counsel.

The board of directors is also scheduled for potential action on the annual operational and maintenance budget.

The board previously voted 5-2 to retain Cameron and Mittleman as legal counsel though it elected to revisit the issue after facing criticism that its awarding of the contract might have violated Rhode Island’s open meeting laws.

An agenda for a Dec. 20 meeting included an item dubbed “RFP – Legal Services” under the “Business” section. At a Jan. 3 meeting of the BCWA, Barrington resident Gary Morse argued that the topic was listed with that same description for months prior to the meeting, without any vote to appoint legal counsel.

In addition, Barrington resident Jeff Black questioned the legality of a board meeting on Dec. 18 that was not posted with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. The board interviewed five potential legal firms that night.

After hearing the criticism, members said, the BCWA asked for advice from the Rhode Island Attorney General before inviting any top candidates who wish to return for another interview to do so. Though the law is unclear, an associate attorney from Cameron and Mittleman said, it would probably be a good idea to offer the re-interviews.

 

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