COMPLAINT OF ALLEGED
OPEN MEETING LAW VIOLATION

filed – January 23, 2019

Date and location of alleged violation

  • TOWNNEWPORT VT SELECT BOARD MEETING AUGUST 2, 2018 5:30PM
    Complaint against the public body of Newport Center,Vermont for alleged violation of Vermont’s Open
    Meeting Laws. Pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 314 any person aggrieved by a violation of that law must provide the
    public body with written notice that alleges specific violations and requests a specific cure of such violations
  • Complainant’s Name:
  • Barry Sahagian
    46 Vance Hill Road
    Newport Center, VT 05857

    Public body that is alleged to have violated the law:
    Select Board: Steve Barrup, Gerry Waterman, Richard Gossilin

  • Alleged, specific violation of 1 V.S.A. § 310 et seq.:
  • 1 VSA 312 (c) (4) Any adjourned meeting shall be considered a new meeting, unless the time and place
    for the adjourned meeting is announced before the meeting adjourns.

    On August 2nd, 2018 at a regular Monthly Selectboard Meeting, immediately after the meeting was adjourned
    (approx 6:38PM), while the three Selectment, the town clerk and a couple of the attendees were still present,
    the SelectBoard Chair Steve Barrup, continued discussion on several points concerning town business. The
    meeting was being video taped and I turned main video camera off when the meeting was adjourned. I allege
    that Steve Barrup took this opportunity to continue town business out of the public’s awareness with a quorum
    present .. This was not an inadvertent action.

    I allege this was a deliberate and will-full non compliance of 1 VSA 312 (c) (4) on Steve Barrups part due the
    fact:

    Previous Complaint filed on February 8th, 2018 and responded to by the Select Board on non compliance of
    the same open meeting law violation 1 VSA 312 (c) (4). The select Board responded with a unanimous vote of
    no wrong doing. Complaint still open.
    At the February 8th, 2018 meeting, Barry Sahagian initiated an open discusion on the alleged violation and
    read the law, 1 VSA 312 (c) (4), verbatim to the select board (video taped). I asked Steve Barrup if he
    understood the law and asked if he would like me to repeat it. He replied that he did not need the law
    repeated. (video tape on file)
    August 2nd, 2018 Selectboard Meeting – details of violation:
    Steve Barrup brought up 3 points of discussion directed at me (Barry Sahagian) concering his disatisfaction of
    my participation at the meeting.

  • 1. I was told I should “get my facts straight,” by Steve Barrup. I asked “what facts” Steve did not respond.
  • 2. Steve Barrup continued and stated that I could be liable for a slander lawsuit.
  • 3a. Steve Barrup continued to his next point . He claimed that I disturbed the meeting by upsetting one of
    the attendees, Woody Page who was pitching his candidacy for State Representative 2018. In Steve
    Barrup’s opinion, claims that Woody made a facial gesture of discomfort when I moved the camera for
    the close up shot. I moved the camera for a close up to Woody because he is very soft spoken and I
    felt the audio was not being picked up. I estimate the camera was about 2 -3′ from his face. I also
    explained in my opinion that I thought Woody may have been a bit camera shy as the reason he
    flinched.
    1. 3b. At the time I did notice Woody Page was still outside the office in the parking lot having conversations
      with residents who also attended the meeting. I went outside and explained the situation to Woody
      and asked if he would come back into the office and comment on the incident I was experiencing.
      Woody came back in and and faced the 3 selectmen and stated “there is no problem” I am quite sure if
      push came to shove and this were to continue to further action, Woody Page would indeed respond to
      a subpoena to confirm this under oath. Woody Page is a retired Major in the armed forces and
      currently a canidate for VT State Representative.
      All this dialogue occured after the meeting was adjourned with the 3 selectmen, town clerk and other
      attendees present at the Town clerks office.

    Cure:
    Schedule a special meeting that would be noticed to the public with an agenda including discussion of these
    three points Steve Barrup brought up at the illegal meeting, I would like to know in particular, the facts Steve
    Barrup alleged that were not “straight, and be able to repond/discuss. I would like to hear any comments that
    the residents of the town may have as is allowed by Open Meeting Law. Discussion of the other two points as
    well.
    This is not the first time this Violation has occured (aforementioned) and to the date of this complaint there is
    an open meeting violation on record and still within the one year statue to file at superior court.
    Provisions to be made in that this non compliance to be not repeated in the future as required in all cures of
    open meeting violation. VSA 314 (4) (B) “adopting specific measures that actually prevent future violations.”