Legal Contract Saga Ends for BCWA

The Bristol County Water Authority board of directors approved a new contract with Keough & Sweeney of Pawtucket.


After three votes, four meetings, and complaints of Open Meetings laws violations, the Bristol County Water Authority board of directors on Feb. 27 voted to approve a new legal services contract with a new firm.

Marina Peterson, a blogger for Bristol-Warren Patch, reported that board members voted 6 to 1, with one abstention, to hire Keough & Sweeney of Pawtucket, replacing longtime counsel Cameron & Mittleman.

Chairman Allen Klepper read a statement from Cameron & Mittleman prior to the vote, in which the firm asked to be withdrawn from consideration.

The vote ended a process that took more than two months to resolve, after board members voted 5 to 2 to keep Cameron & Mittleman on Dec. 20, two days after holding a meeting to consider the applicants.

Residents later charged that the Dec. 18 session was held illegally, since an agenda had not been filed with the Rhode Island Secretary of State's office, and that the Dec. 20 vote was improperly held.

Board members again voted for Cameron & Littleman on Jan. 16 by a 4 to 3 vote — which then led to confusion over the BCWA by-laws and the state law governing the agency.

While the agency's by-laws generally require a majority vote for most matters, state law sets the minimum number of votes at five for resolutions like the legal contract.

On Jan. 18, BCWA Executive Director Pamela Marchand issued a statement saying that since the Jan. 16 vote did not reach the five votes required under state law, the board needed a third vote to be taken.

Manifold Witness March 01, 2013 at 12:48 PM
So where are all the BCWA records? (See12/20/12 excerpt.) Allan Klepper: …“Total history, I guess we can all agree maybe I should have been gone a long time ago” … “And she (Sandra Mack) has all the (BCWA) records. And as she pointed out in her resume proposal they keep at no charge all the minutes, all the records kept for us at no charge. She has all the records. And I’ve gone back, I have records at home which many of you don’t. All of those ah all of those arrangements with the ah with the Anawan Club I have all those. She’s got all the rest. All the original legislation. All of those things. The details”.… (Another Director objects.) Mr. Klepper: (gets a little loud) “I know you disagree and you made your piece and so I’m making mine!”…“But by the same token in matters of annual accountants when I was a town manager my policy was to change the accountant every 5 years because I wanted a different set of eyes ‘cause it was it had a different purpose in mind and so I would change the accountant ah the auditor the auditor of the town at least every 5 years because that was the policy, but in this case that doesn’t apply I believe to this kind of a case.” Pamela Marchand:… “and she says she’s been working with Richard Licht on on what we need to do with the $6.9 million”….“Again I keep coming back to the Massachusetts problem” … “Whatever we do with it, it’s gonna be a problem over the next two years”…
marina peterson March 01, 2013 at 03:35 PM
We look forward to a "new beginning" and hopefully many unanswered questions on past issues will now be resolved. Maybe a forensic audit to clear the air once and for all. As the previous post says, there are countless BCWA records that are being held by Ms. Mack and Mr. Klepper that need to be retrieved. At a previous BCWA meeting within the last year Ms. Mack made reference to "hundreds" of records belonging to Delise that she was storing in her office. These also need to be retrieved. Mr. Klepper also refers to offsite stored records at the Dec. 20th meeting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKj7mJ8LEVg Mr. Klepper's statements start at 28 minutes into the meeting.
marina peterson March 01, 2013 at 04:50 PM
in short: The public requests access to the BCWA records that are/were at Mr. Klepper’s house. The public requests access to all the BCWA records that Mrs. Mack has/had.. The public also requests that the minutes of the January 16th BCWA meeting be amended or contain a disclaimer stating that the Motion to reappoint Cameron & Mittleman failed 4-3. It currently states "Motion carried 4-3". This may be a snapshot of what happened at the meeting, but it must be clarified for posterity. It was later found that the motion did NOT carry as five votes are required. Note: Ms. Mack was in the room when the vote was taken and when it was announced that it "carried". She did NOT correct the board or advise them that five votes were required.
BOB I March 01, 2013 at 05:30 PM
this could get very interesting in the next few months. as for the records they should be stored in a secure location,not in some ones office or home.
Jack Baillargeron March 01, 2013 at 08:00 PM
What makes me nervous about those records Marina, is that fact that the neither board or the public know which records she will say belong to the BCWA and which records she will consider privilege information of her practice. I see a real possible problem with getting them all back in whole unredacted.


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