FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

John S. Hosier,

 

Complainant,

 

against Docket #FIC 87-171

 

Board of Police Commissioners of the Town of Clinton,

 

Respondent September 9, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 21 and 29, 1987, at which times the complainant 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 dated June 12, 1987, and filed with the Commission on June 15, 1987, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging the respondent held an illegal executive session, without proper notice or minutes, on June 8, 1987.

 

3. The respondent claims the gathering in question concerned collective bargaining negotiations and was not subject to the open meetings requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

4. It is found that after the respondent's regular meeting on June 8, 1987, three of the respondent's five members met with the police chief and counsel.

 

5. It is found that the purpose of this gathering was discussion of the respondent's continuing pension negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local #360.

 

6. It is concluded that the gathering was not a meeting as defined by 1-18a(b), G.S., and not subject to the open meetings requirements of 1-21(a), G.S., because it related directly to strategy and negotiations with respect to collective bargaining.

 

7. It is found, however, that during this gathering one of the participants asked about the status of litigation concerning

 

Docket #FIC 87-171 Page Two

 

a disabled police officer, counsel replied she had nothing to report yet, and the chief warned members not to discuss the matter with the officer involved.

 

8. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent technically violated 1-21(a), G.S., by discussing unrelated litigation, albeit briefly, during a non-meeting gathering at which a quorum was present.

 

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

 

1. The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with 1-21(a), G.S.

 

2. Because the evidence at the hearing showed the parties lack understanding of the Freedom of Information Act, all the respondent's members shall attend a workshop given by a Commission staff attorney to take place within 60 days of the mailing of the notice of final decision.

 

Approved by the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 9, 1987.

 

______________ 

Hilde Mayranen

Acting Clerk of the Commission