FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Paul Parker and the Daily Campus,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-45

 

University of Connecticut Board of Trustees,

 

Respondent May 13, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 31, 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. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on February 20, 1987, the complainants alleged that the respondent improperly convened in executive session at its February 13, 1987 meeting. The complainants also alleged that there were several persons in attendance at the executive session in question, who are not members of the respondent.

 

3. At the hearing before the Commission, the complainants and the respondent agreed to the following:

 

a. the respondent met on February 13, 1987 in the basement of the library at the Waterbury campus;

 

b. shortly before adjourning, the respondent unanimously voted to convene in executive session and while the original motion did not include the reasons for the executive session, on the advice of counsel, the reasons were added before the vote was taken;

 

Docket #FIC 87-45 Page 2

 

c. the purposes stated for the executive session were personnel matters, litigation and collective bargaining; and

 

d. the persons in attendance at the executive session other than the respondent were John Casteen, President; Debra Burns, Executive Secretary to the respondent and Assistant to the President; Paul Shapiro, Assistant Attorney General; Carol Wiggins, Vice-President Student Affairs; Harry Hartley, Vice-President of Finance and Administration; and Julius Elias, Interim Vice-President Academic Affairs.

 

4. It is found that the respondent failed to prove by documentary evidence or argument that the reasons set forth at paragraph 3c, above, for the executive session in question were permissible within the meaning of 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

5. It is further found that the respondent failed to show that the persons identified at paragraph 3d, above, were invited guests by the respondent to present testimony or opinion as permitted at 1-21g, G.S.

 

6. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-21 and 1-21g, G.S., by improperly convening in executive session on February 13, 1987.

 

7. The Commission notes that the requirements set forth in 1-21, G.S., are intended to provide the public with notice of when public agencies meet and what business is transacted at such meeting. The failure of the respondent to offer any evidence at the hearing concerning the propriety of the executive session in question, does a disservice to the public it serves.

 

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 strictly comply with the requirements of 1-18a(e) and 1-21, G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 13, 1987.

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission