In the Matter of a Complaint by Ted Vincent, FINAL DECISION


Complainant Docket #FIC86-27


against March 12, 1986


Shelton Board of Education of the City and Town of Shelton,




The above captioned matter was scheduled for hearing on February 18, 1986 at which time only the complainant appeared and presented evidence and argument on the complaint.


After consideration of the entire record the following facts are found:


1. The respondent is a public agancy within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


2. By letter received January 15, 1986, the complainant alleged that the respondent held an illegal executive session on December 18, 1985.


3. On December 18, 1985, a regular meeting of the respondent was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


4. The complainant had requested a meeting with the board to discuss problems of abuse of students with them.


5. The complainant was notified that his meeting with the board would be at 7:00 p.m., December 18, 1985 prior to the regular board meeting.


6. The meeting was held in a room which had a different location than the room in which the regular meeting was held.


7. No notice was posted for the 7:00 p.m. meeting.


8. The meeting was conducted as an executive session. However, it was begun without a motion stating the purpose of the executive session and no vote was taken by the members of the board who were present prior to moving into the executive session.


9.     Three or four members of the board of education were present at the 7:00 p.m. executive session, and additional members arrived after the meeting was underway.


Docket #FIC86-27 page 2


10. It is found since the executive session was not held at the same hour and location as the regular meeting, that it was a special meeting and that the respondent was required by 1-21, G.S., to post a notice stating the business to be conducted at the meeting.


11. It is further found that the respondent is required to conform to the requirement of 1-21, G.S., that it may hold an executive session as defined in subsection (e) of section 1-18a, upon an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of such body present and voting taken at a public meeting and stating the reasons for such executive session, as defined in said section.


11. It is concluded, therefore, to the extent the meeting in question was not held for one of the purposes set forth at 1-18a(e), G.S., and because there was no vote to go into executive session, and no notice posted, that it was an illegal executive session.


12. The complainant requested that the respondent be ordered to hold the meeting at a time when other members of the public might attend, so that public attention could be focused on the problems of physical and verbal abuse with which he was concerned.


13. A tape recording was made of the proceedings at the closed meeting which was held with the complainant on December 18, 1985.


14. It is found that since a taped record or the meeting proceedings exists, it is not necessary to order the respondent to reconvene the meeting.


The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above captioned complaint:


1. The respondent shall henceforth comply with the requirements of 1-21 and 1-18a(e), G.S.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 12, 1986.


Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission