FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Paul Wallace and Connecticut Council 4, AFSCME,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-95

 

James Crispino, Richard Freeman, James Geraghty, Edwin Gomes, Edward McLaughlin, Lisa Parziale, Peter Spinelli, Michael Creedon, John Driscoll and Mayor's Task Force Committee on the Dinan Memorial Center of the City of Bridgeport,

 

Respondents September 23, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 11, 1987, at which time the complainants and the respondents 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 committee is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on April 1, 1987, the complainants alleged that the respondents failed to give proper notice for a meeting held on February 27, 1987, and requested the Commission declare the activities of the respondent committee null and void and impose a civil penalty.

 

3. The parties agreed to include additional claims made by the complainants that the respondents failed to properly notice additional meetings which it held during March 1987 and failed to file minutes.

 

4.     The respondents are a committee of prominent citizens appointed by the mayor to oversee a nursing home owned by the city, known as Dinan Memorial Center, which is financially troubled.

 

Docket No. FIC 87-95 page 2

 

5. On February 27, 1987, an operational review of the Dinan Memorial Center was presented to the respondent committee by the certified public accountants Lowenthal and Horvath.

 

6. On the same day, a notice that the respondents would meet every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. in the mayor's conference room was filed with the town clerk.

 

7. A similar notice was published in the local newspaper during March 1987.

 

8. Neither the notice in the clerk's office nor the newspaper notice stated the purpose of the meetings.

 

9. It is found that, up through March 29, 1987, the meetings of the respondent committee were special rather than regular meetings and, therefore, the notice filed with the clerk was defective because it should have stated the purpose for the meetings.

 

10. It is found that no minutes were filed for the February 27, 1987, meeting and that minutes for the March 6 and March 20, 1987, meetings were filed late.

 

11. The reason that the minutes for the February 27, 1987 meeting were not created was that since the meeting was the occasion for the presentation of the Lowenthal & Horvath report, it was believed that the report spoke for itself.

 

12. The respondents are giving notice for their meetings and filing minutes, since they have become aware of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

13. It is found that neither a civil penalty nor an order declaring actions taken null and void is appropriate under these circumstances.

 

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

 

1. The respondents shall create minutes for the February 27, 1987, meeting stating the names of those present and describing briefly the substance of the meeting.

 

2. The respondents shall henceforth comply with the notice and minutes requirements of 1-21, G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 23, 1987.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission