SAVOY -- The Board of Selectmen unintentionally violated the Open Meeting Law earlier this year, the state Attorney General's office ruled Monday.
The decision by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Sclarsic does not punish the board, but it warns them not to commit infractions in the future.
According to the ruling, the board violated the law in February when it agreed privately to reschedule a special town meeting, though it did provide two weeks of notice.
The special town meeting had been set for Feb. 19, but the board moved itto Feb. 26. The new meeting date was published Feb. 6.
The original special town meeting was scheduled to take place in the Savoy Fire House. The meeting date and location were changed after the fire chief expressed concern that leaving fire trucks outside during the meeting would cause their pumps to freeze, Sclarsic wrote in the ruling.
Sclarsic wrote that the decision to change the special town meeting date "was public business" and should have been discussed in a public meeting.
"I'm just disappointed in [the attorney general]," Selectmen Chair John Tynan said. "I am still a little upset."
Tynan said the board was unaware that it needed to discuss rescheduling the meeting in public.
"Geeze, we've already posted it -- what do we need to do," Tynan said.
A complaint was filed with the board Feb. 25 by Brenda Smith, which Town Counsel Lance Chavin answered in a March 11 letter, as required. It was then forwarded to the attorney general.
"Scheduling information" does not need to be discussed in a public meeting, Chavin argued in the response.
Sclarsic said in his decision that while regular public meetings don't have to be scheduled openly, discussion of a special town meeting does need take place during an official meeting.
"The exemption of deliberation does not include discussions of scheduling other events within the board's jurisdiction to schedule," Sclarsic wrote.
The community has been heading in a positive direction, Tynan said. He hoped the decision would not create unnecessary political rifts in Savoy.
"There was no deception," Tynan said. "The date was openly displayed at the fire house."
Sclarsic's finding also says the Selectmen asked for legal advice from Chavin, who advised the board to create a new warrant. The board signed a new warrant for the special town meeting but did so outside of a public meeting and at the advice of its counsel, he states.
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