November 13 ,2019
To Town Clerk, Denise Daigle, Newport Center, VT
Open Meeting Law Complaint 1 V.S.A. § 311

On Setptember 5th, 2019 at the Newport Center Regular Select Board meeting I was on the agenda to speak about a water system project and how business was handled by the Select board. The issue concerned 9 meetings in late 2018 where 750,000 was signed off to contractors at the 9 meetings. The meetings were never warned to the people nor were any minutes taken at the meetings as well as other alleged non compliance of laws and constitutional rights. At one point on the Sept 5 SBM, I asked a question and Steve Barrup ( Select Board Chair) answered the question with a non related question. He insisted I answer his question, then Selectmen Jerry Waterman and Rick Gossilin said I was beating a dead horse and they would move on to the next agenda item. They did this and I was not allowed to speak on the issue nor did not I get an answer to the question.

I believe they were trying to silence me because the issues were serious involving questionable handling of the recent water project funds. The question that comes to mind given the boards avoidance of accountability is … Do they have something to hide??

My constitutional right and Open Meeting Law to speak openly and get questions answered (accountable with town business matters) at these meetings is being violated. I allege a non compliance of Open Meeting Law:

(1 V.S.A. § 311)

(a) In enacting this subchapter, the legislature finds and declares that public commissions, boards, and councils and other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and are accountable to them pursuant to Chapter I, Article VI of the Vermont Constitution.

Cure: Schedule 2 special warned meetings to answer the municipal water users quesions and be allowed to speak until we have addressed all issues completely and get the answers the municipal water users have been seeking in recent past.

The first meeting to be scheduled in the period of time by Open Meeting Law and the second in mid January 2020. The second meeting to be scheduled no later than Jan 17,2020.

If the conditions of this cure are not met, It will be considered a denial.

Given the fact that 9 meetings occurred wherein $750,000 was allocated and no one knew about these meetings I feel it is fair to include 2 meetings on this cure to get accountablility on what has been going on.

Part Two – There are 3 times in past year where accountability has been denied to the people on this issue. I believe my cure is very reasonable. If the select board does not cure this complaint, I will file additional complaints.

Barry Sahagian