William DiStefano, a resident of Miss Fry Drive, has filed suit against the Town Council after his membership to the Zoning Board was nullified in January.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court July 7, accuses the Town Council of violating the Open Meetings Act by “failing to properly post agendas and meeting minutes, and failing to give the proper notice concerning the termination of DiStefano’s appointment to the Zoning Board.”
DiStefano was appointed to the Zoning Board last November, after submitting a written application for the position that included the question, “Are you a registered voter of East Greenwich?”
According to the town’s appointment policy for boards and commissions, “applicants shall be residents and electors of the Town of East Greenwich.”
According to Council President Michael Isaacs, DiStefano said he was a registered EG voter on his application. Based on the application and an interview with the Town Council, DiStefano was appointed to fill out a term on the Zoning Board that expired June 30. He served on the board once, at its Nov. 26 meeting, as an alternate.
Subsequently, it was learned that DiStefano was not a registered EG voter at the time he filled out his application. According to the Town Clerk’s office, DiStefano registered to vote in East Greenwich on Dec. 26, 2013, more than a month after he was appointed to the board.
Isaacs said the Town Council did not rule on the matter. Rather, he said, “the appointment was void as a matter of law. He did not meet the qualifications, so it was just void.”
DiStefano’s contention that the Town Council failed to properly post the matter in a meeting agenda, according to Isaacs, is wrong.
“There was no open meetings law violation because there was no meeting,” Isaacs said. “He was notified by the solicitor” that his membership was void.
According to the lawsuit, “DiStefano has suffered and continues to suffer severe and substantial damages” as a result of the town’s action.
DiStefano did not respond to requests for a comment.