No OML foul. Open Meeting Violation Alledged is Ignorant of the Law

On March 30, one of the leaders of the Warwick tax revolt filed an Open Meeting Law complaint against the Selectboard  and the chairman alleging a violation of the law because he was asked to request agenda items on topics that would require time to respond and because he isn’t allowed to talk at Selectboard meeting as much as he would like to. This initial complaint was properly filed with the Selectboard.
My reply on behalf of the board is that the fact is: there is and was no violation because the Open Meeting Law (OML) does not give anyone who is not a member of the board the right to speak. The rights that exist are: to be provided notice of time, place, date, and proposed agenda at the town’s lighted meeting notice board at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting; the right to attend (but not to speak) at any open session of the body (Selectboard); and the right to record the proceedings provided the chair and those in attendance at the meeting are given notice. Recording is not a matter of getting permission. Recording is a right provided notice is given.
While it is considered a good practice, there is no right to a “public comment” or “citizen concerns” agenda item. There is no right of any individual not a member of the body to speak. When it chooses to allow public speech, the board may limit the time allowed and may at its discretion eliminate the agenda item altogether.

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