FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Gregory M. Maglio,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 86-242

 

City of New Britain and Civil Service Commission of the City of New Britain,

 

Respondents December 10, 1986

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 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 record, the following facts are found:

 

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

 

2. On June 18, 1986 the complainant took a written civil service promotional test for the position of administrative services officer. The complainant failed the test and on June 20, 1986 filed an appeal of thirteen of the test questions.

 

3. The complainant requested that his appeal be heard by the respondent in a closed session with no one other than him and the members of the respondent present. The complainant was informed that because their test scores would be affected by a successful appeal by the complainant, other test candidates would be invited to attend.

 

4. On July 29, 1986 the respondent held a meeting during which it convened in executive session "for the purpose of examination appeals and to permit other test candidates and their counsel to be present." The executive session was attended by the members of the respondent, the complainant, test candidates Walter Jacowitz and Edward Valuskas, counsel for Mr. Jacowitz, the secretary to the respondent and the personnel director of the City of New Britain. Upon reconvening in public session the respondent voted to deny the appeals of seven of the questions, all other appeals having been withdrawn.

 

Docket #FIC 86-242 Page Two

 

5. Mr. Jacowitz has been appointed to the position sought by the complainant.

 

6. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on August 28, 1986 the complainant alleged as follows:

 

a) That the respondent failed to limit attendance at the July 29, 1986 executive session to those persons invited to present testimony or opinion within the meaning of 1-21g, G.S.

 

b) That the respondent failed to limit the attendance of those invited to present testimony or opinion at the July 29, 1986 executive session to the period for which their presence was necessary to present such testimony or opinion, within the meaning of 1-21g, G.S.

 

c) That the respondent failed to record in the minutes of the executive session the names of the persons who attended the executive session, in violation of 1-21g, G.S.

 

d) That the respondent failed to state a proper purpose for the July 29, 1986 executive session, as such purposes are defined at 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

e) That the respondent failed to provide by ordinance or resolution the place for holding its regular meetings, in violation of 1-21f, G.S.

 

7. The complainant requested that the Commission declare null and void all actions taken by the respondent in and as a result of the July 29, 1986 executive session and all action taken by the City of New Britain, through its board of water commissioners, in reliance upon the respondent's actions.

 

8. It is found that the minutes of the July 29, 1986 meeting, filed with the town clerk on August 1, 1986, did not disclose the names of all persons attending the July 29, 1986 executive session, in violation of 1-21g, G.S.

 

9. On September 29, 1986, however, the respondent filed an addendum to the minutes of the July 29, 1986 meeting which listed the names of all persons attending the July 29, 1986 executive session.

 

Docket #FIC 86-242 Page Three

 

10. It is found that while convened in executive session the respondent discussed seven or more questions which appeared on the civil service examination administered on June 18, 1986. Such discussion, if held in public session, would have resulted in the disclosure of test questions, scoring keys or other examination data used to administer an examination for employment within the meaning of 1-19(b)(6), G.S.

 

11. It is concluded that the July 29, 1986 executive session was convened for a proper purpose within the meaning of 1-18a(e)(5), G.S.

 

12. It is found that the respondent's statement that it was convening in executive session for the purpose of examination appeals sufficiently identified the actual purpose of the executive session and did not violate 1-21(a), G.S.

 

13. It is found that a notice of meeting placed on file in the office of the town clerk on or about July 24, 1986 stated that the regular meeting of the respondent scheduled for August 4, 1986 had been "rescheduled" for July 29, 1986 in Room 209, City Hall, at 5:30 p.m.

 

14. It is found that the July 29, 1986 meeting was not included in the schedule of regular meetings placed on file by the respondent pursuant to 1-21(a), G.S. and was not, therefore, a regular meeting.

 

15. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that it has provided by ordinance or resolution the place for holding its regular meetings, as required by 1-21f, G.S.

 

16. It is further found, however, that such failure had no effect on the July 29, 1986 meeting, a special meeting to which the provisions of 1-21f, G.S., do not apply.

 

17. It is found that the two test candidates other than the complainant, counsel for one of the candidates and the personnel director were invited to the July 29, 1986 executive session for the purpose of presenting their opinions on the questions being appealed by the complainant.

 

18. It is found that to the extent that the persons named at paragraph 17, above, were invited to offer opinion on the questions being appealed, their presence during the entire executive session did not violate 1-21g, G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 86-242 Page Four

 

19. It is found, however, that the respondent failed to prove that the secretary to the respondent was invited to attend the executive session to present testimony or opinion on the matter of the complainant's appeal.

 

20. It is concluded that the presence of the secretary to the respondent violated 1-21g, G.S.

 

21. The Commission hereby declines the complainant's request for an order declaring null and void the results of the respondent's July 29, 1986 executive session.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall, within one week of the final decision in this matter, provide a copy of such final decision to the town clerk of the City of New Britain for posting in the same manner as a notice of special meeting is posted pursuant to 1-21(a), G.S. Such final decision shall remain posted for a period of one month.

 

2. The respondent shall forthwith provide by ordinance or resolution the place for holding its regular meetings, as required by 1-21f, G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 10, 1986.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission