FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Henry E. Buermeyer,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 86-144

 

Town Manager, Town Council and Town Attorney of the Town of Groton,

 

Respondents July 23, 1986

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 30, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire matter, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. On April 24, 1986 the committee-of-the-whole of the respondent council held a meeting at approximately 8:00 p.m. during which it convened in executive session to discuss a "pending claim for civil penalties against individual members of Council in the FOI complaint scheduled for hearing on May 2."

 

3. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on May 23, 1986 the complainant alleged that notice of the April 24, 1986 meeting was not posted in the office of the town clerk until 8:52 a.m. on the morning of April 24, 1986, in violation of 1-21(a), G.S. and that discussion of complaints filed with the Commission was not a proper purpose for an executive session within the meaning of 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

4. The April 24, 1986 meeting of the committee-of-the- whole was not included in any schedule of regular meetings placed on file pursuant to 1-21(a), G.S. Such meeting was, therefore, a special meeting within the meaning of 1-21(a), G.S.

 

5. On April 22, 1986 the respondent council prepared a notice of the April 24, 1986 meeting of its committee-of-the- whole and on the same day the meeting was noted on a meeting

 

Docket #FIC 86-144 Page Two

 

calendar in the office of the Groton town clerk. Such notice, however, was not submitted to the office of the Groton town clerk for posting, as required by 1-21(a), G.S., until 8:52 a.m. on April 24, 1986.

 

6. It is concluded that the respondent council failed to file a notice of its April 24, 1986 meeting, for posting by the town clerk, at least 24 hours in advance of such meeting, in violation of 1-21(a), G.S.

 

7. At its April 24, 1986 meeting the committee-of-the- whole of the respondent council convened in executive session to discuss complaints filed with this Commission alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act and to prepare a response to such complaints.

 

8. The respondent council claims that discussion of its strategy with respect to complaints against it brought to the Freedom of Information Commission was a proper purpose for an executive session within the meaning of 1-18a(e)(2), G.S.

 

9. It is found that complaints to this Commission alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act by the respondent council constituted "pending claims" within the meaning of 1-18a(e)(2), G.S.

 

10. It is concluded that the respondent council's April 24, 1986 executive session to discuss its strategy with respect to claims before this Commission did not violate 1-21(a), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The respondent council shall henceforth ensure that all notices of its special meetings are filed with the town clerk for posting at least 24 hours in advance of each such meeting.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission

at its regular meeting of July 23, 1986.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission