FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Maurice Rocheleau,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-179

 

Lisbon Board of Finance,

 

Respondent September 23, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 27, 1987, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and 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 June 11, 1987 the respondent held a special meeting.

 

3. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on June 24, 1987 the complainant alleged that as of June 23, 1987 the minutes of the respondent's June 11, 1987 meeting had not yet been filed.

 

4. At hearing, counsel for the respondent moved for a continuance based upon the unavailability of the town attorney, which motion was denied.

 

5. Also at hearing the respondent moved to dismiss the complaint and to impose sanctions against the complainant, which motions were denied.

 

6. Finally, the respondent moved to dismiss the complaint, pursuant to Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies 1-21j-42, on the ground that the complainant did not include with his appeal a copy of a written application for a copy of the minutes of the June 11, 1987 meeting. No written request to inspect records being required by any provision of the Freedom of Information Act, such motion was also denied.

 

Docket #FIC 87-179 Page Two

 

7. It is found that the respondent's system for placing minutes and other documents on file for public inspection occasionally involves sliding a folder containing the documents under the door of the town clerk's office for date stamping and filing.

 

8. In the instant case, the transaction was not completed and minutes of the June 11, 1987 meeting were not available for public inspection, as required by 1-21(a), G.S., until June 24, 1987.

 

9. It could not be determined at hearing whether the minutes were not provided to the town clerk in a timely manner or whether the town clerk, through an oversight, failed to date stamp the minutes and place a copy on file in her office.

 

10. It is, however, the responsibility of the respondent to ensure that its minutes are placed on file in a timely manner. The method described at paragraph 7, above, is not a satisfactory method unless careful checks are made to ensure that documents slipped underneath a door are, in fact, properly placed on file.

 

11. It is concluded that the respondent failed to make available for public inspection the minutes of its June 11, 1987 meeting within 7 days, in violation of 1-21(a), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The respondent henceforth shall ensure that minutes of its meetings are placed on file and available for public inspection within 7 days of such meetings, as required by 1-21(a), 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