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SK Council, ACLU and Bergner rift continues

July 27, 2012

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Debate continued between Deb Bergner and the town council following news reports in which town officials claimed to have dealt with the issues the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged the council to address in a recent letter.

Steve Alfred, town manager, said that Michael Ursillo, town solicitor, spoke to council members regarding the ban on texting and use of council member names in a work session two months ago.

Ursillo confirmed Tuesday in a phone conversation that he spoke to council members May 14 and the ban on texting was subsequently lifted and members of the public were allowed to address council members by name during the time for public comment.

In light of these comments, Deb Bergner, who originally filed a complaint over the town council’s actions with the ACLU, sent an e-mail to an ACLU staff member saying that the town council has never publicly discussed reversing the ban on texting and use of names.

“How is the public supposed to know that the policies have been rescinded?” Bergner wrote. “Merely taking down a sign, in my opinion, is not informing the public of a policy change.”

Bergner is referring to the sign stating “No texting is allowed in the Chambers,” which previously hung outside of the chamber’s entrance.

Ella Whaley, town council president, alleged that the ACLU never contacted the town council or town officials regarding Deb Bergner’s claims prior to sending a letter.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of Friday's The Narragansett Times.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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