FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Walter R. Archer, Jr., and Burtville Associates,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-7

 

Traffic Commission of the City of Derby,

 

Respondent March 25, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 18, 1987, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

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

 

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

 

2. On December 22, 1986, the respondent held a public hearing.

 

3. By letter of complaint dated January 7, 1987 and filed with the Commission on January 13, 1987, the complainants alleged the respondent violated 1-21(a), G.S., by not filing a schedule of regular meetings or notice and an agenda for the December 22, 1986 hearing. The complainants also asked the Commission to declare null and void the vote taken at the December 22, 1986 hearing.

 

4. The respondent claims it filed notice and an agenda for the December 22, 1986 hearing with the Derby town clerk and has filed all similar notices and schedules with the town clerk since 1967.

 

5. It is found that the December 22, 1986 public hearing was a special meeting of the respondent, as defined by 1-18a(b) and 1-21(a), G.S.

 

6.     It is found that the respondent is an agency of the political subdivision City of Derby.

 

Docket #FIC 87-7 Page Two

 

7. It is found that the respondent filed notice of its December 22, 1986 public hearing with the Derby town clerk. This notice does not include the words "special meeting."

 

8. It is further found that the Derby town clerk marked the respondent's name and meeting time in the space for December 22, 1986 on a large calendar in her office. The clerk did not mark in the meeting place. The public has full access to this calendar.

 

9. It is found that the Derby city clerk similarly marked the respondent's name and meeting time on a large calendar in her office, also excluding the meeting place. This calendar is less accessible to the public.

 

10. It is found, however, that the respondent did not formally file notice of the December 22, 1986, special meeting with the Derby city clerk in violation of 1-21(a), G.S.

 

11. It is found that the respondent also filed a document entitled "Advice to Traffic Commission," which it claims was an agenda, with the Derby town clerk before the December 22, 1986 meeting.

 

12. It is found that this document does not state the business to be conducted at the meeting and does not, therefore, constitute an agenda.

 

13. Nonetheless, it is concluded that, since the notice of a special meeting specifies the business to be transacted and does not require a separate agenda, the respondent's failure to file an agenda for the December 22, 1986 meeting does not violate 1-21(a), G.S.

 

14. In addition, it is found that the Derby town clerk does serve the City of Derby in some of her duties.

 

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 act in strict compliance with 1-21(a), G.S., and file notices of all special meetings with the Derby city clerk.

 

Docket #FIC 87-7 Page Three

 

2. The respondent shall entitle such notices "Notice of Special Meeting."

 

3. The respondent shall instruct the Derby city clerk to henceforth post the actual notices she receives, not just a calendar, in a place in her office to which the public has full access, until such time as a central posting place for the city and town exists.

 

4. Recognizing that the Derby town clerk often serves the City of Derby and that citizens easily may be confused about which clerk's office posts the respondent's notices, the Commission also orders the respondent to henceforth file notice of all special meetings with the Derby town clerk.

 

5. The Commission strongly recommends that the City of Derby and the Town of Derby establish a single bulletin board, in a place fully accessible to the public, on which their respective clerks shall post notices of all city and town agencies' meetings.

 

6. The respondent shall provide the clerks of the City of Derby and the Town of Derby with copies of this order.

 

7. The Commission declines to declare the respondent's December 22, 1986 meeting null and void.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 25, 1987.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission