FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Joseph Marci,

 

Complainant Docket #FIC 86-116

 

against

 

New Haven Service Delivery Area Private Industry Council, Inc.,

 

Respondent December 16, 1986

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 23, 1986, June 24, 1986 and September 22, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

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

 

1. By letter dated May 2, 1986 the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to keep minutes of its executive board meetings.

 

2. The complainant claimed in addition that the failure to provide minutes of the executive board proceedings violated an agreement which the respondent had made with him which had earlier provided a basis for the withdrawal of a complaint, filed by the complainant herein, with the Commission.

 

3. The complainant requested that the Commission assess a civil penalty against the respondent.

 

4. When a hearing was convened to take evidence on the question of public agency, the respondent stipulated that the facts found in an earlier decision of this Commission, #FIC 84-183, were true.

 

Docket #FIC 86-116 page two

 

I. Whether The Respondent is a Public Agency

 

5. The respondent moved to dismiss the case because it claimed it was not a public agency.

 

6. The respondent was created pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 1501 et seq., the Job Training Partnership Act.

 

7. The respondent is incorporated as a non profit corporation with a board of trustees composed primarily of persons who work for corporations in the private sector.

 

8. Section 1501 states the purpose of the Job Training Partnership Act is to "establish programs to prepare youth and unskilled adults for entry into the labor force and to afford job training to those economically disadvantaged individuals and other individuals facing serious barriers to employment, who are in special need of such training to obtain productive employment."

 

9. Under the act, states which comply with certain requirements, including the establishment of service delivery areas and the development of job training plans, receive federal funds.

 

10. 29 U.S.C. 1514 permits federal funds to be appropriated for only those service delivery areas which prepare a job training plan for two program years in accordance with 29 U.S.C. 1513.

 

11. The Governor of Connecticut has designated nine service delivery areas in Connecticut.

 

12. The service delivery area which the respondent serves consists of fourteen towns.

 

13. Under the act, the respondent private industry council has a key role in that it provides policy guidance and oversight with respect to activities under the job training plan.

 

14. Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 1513 the respondent private industry council works in partnership with the mayoral council composed of mayors of the fourteen towns of the service delivery area.

 

Docket #FIC 86-116 page three

 

15. The Governor has approved the job training plan which was submitted jointly by the mayoral council and the respondent.

 

16. The state disburses money it has received from the federal government to the comptroller of the city of New Haven who then disburses the money to the respondent.

 

17. The amount of job training funds allocated to the New Haven Service Delivery Area is approximately three million dollars per annum.

 

18. Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 1513 the mayoral council has designated as its representative Biagio DiLieto, Mayor of New Haven.

 

19. The Mayor of New Haven must approve applications for these funds which are submitted to him by the respondent.

 

20. The respondent dispenses the money it receives on a weekly basis to employers, schools, and industries which it has designated to receive funds for job training.

 

21. In addition to the federal monies which are disbursed to the respondent by the city of New Haven, the respondent receives money from the State for job training for high technology jobs.

 

22. If, after audit, costs of the respondent are disallowed, the City of New Haven is liable for those costs except in the case of fraud.

 

23. The respondent purchases insurance with funds obtained from non-governmental sources to protect it and the board of trustees against liability for fraud.

 

24. Ninety-seven to ninety-eight percent of the funds of the respondent are received pursuant to the Job Training Partnership Act.

 

25. Approximately two and one-half percent of the funds of the respondent come from the State.

 

26. It is found that, despite the fact of its incorporation as a non profit corporation, the respondent would not exist but for federal job training legislation.

 

Docket #FIC 86-116 page four

 

27. It is found that, since the primary function of the respondent is to provide oversight and planning for job training under the Job Training Partnership Act, it is performing a governmental function.

 

28. It is found that nearly one hundred percent of the funding of the activities of the respondent come from governmental sources both state and federal.

 

29. It is found that the respondent is substantially regulated and controlled by the mayoral council, the Mayor of the City of New Haven and the Governor.

 

30. It is concluded that the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S., and that the Commission has jurisdiction over the complaint.

 

II. Whether the Respondent Violated the Act

 

31. On July 31, 1985, as part of a settlement of a complaint filed by the complainant with this Commission, (#FIC 85-129), the respondent agreed to provide minutes of its executive board meetings.

 

32. On May 1, 1985 the complainant requested minutes of the executive board meetings.

 

33. The complainant had made several earlier requests for minutes.

 

34. No minutes of these meetings were available.

 

35. On May 19, 1986, just prior to the Commission hearing which was scheduled in the instant complaint, the respondent provided the complainant with minutes of the executive committee for meetings which were held in August and November, 1985; and in February, March, and May, 1986.

 

36. It is found that the respondent failed to comply with the requirements of 1-15, 1-19(a), and 1-21, G.S., because it failed to maintain a record of its proceedings as required by 1-19(a), G.S.; because it failed to prepare minutes (except for the minutes of the May 15, 1986 meeting) within the seven days required by 1-21, G.S.; and because it failed to provide the minutes promptly as required by 1-15, G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 86-116 page five

 

III. Whether a Civil Penalty is Appropriate

 

37. The minutes of the respondent are prepared under the direction of William Villano.

 

38. Maureen Wagner, who types the minutes of the respondent, does not attend its meetings.

 

39. A hearing was held September 22, 1986 pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S., to determine whether a civil penalty should be imposed upon William Villano, as requested by the complainant.

 

40. It is found that, despite the agreement to provide minutes of the executive board meetings, Mr. Villano had not made himself aware of the clearly stated requirement of 1-21, G.S., that minutes must be available to the public within seven days of the meeting to which they refer.

 

41. It is further found that William Villano was directly responsible for the delay in preparing the minutes and that the delay was due to his priorities in organizing his work.

 

42. It is concluded that the failure of William Villano to require that the minutes of the meetings be produced in a timely matter was without reasonable grounds, and that it is appropriate under the circumstances of this case to impose a civil penalty upon him in the amount of twenty ($20.00) dollars.

 

43. The motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, which was filed on September 22, 1986, is denied.

 

44. The application for a more definite and detailed statement, which was filed on September 22, 1986, is denied.

 

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

 

1. The Commission hereby imposes a civil penalty of twenty ($20.00) dollars against William Villano.

 

Docket #FIC 86-116 page six

 

2. William Villano shall make the payment of such penalty by tendering same at the offices of the Freedom of Information Commission, 97 Elm Street - Rear, Hartford, CT 06106, within 30 days of the mailing of notice of the final decision incorporating this order.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of December 16, 1986

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission