In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Larry Pincince,




against Docket #FIC 87-189


Court of Burgess of the Borough of Stafford Springs,


Respondent October 28, 1987


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 3, 1987, at which time 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. On or about March 31, 1987 the Borough of Stafford Springs requested bids on refuse collection, such bids to be submitted by June 1, 1987.


3. The respondent held a regular meeting on June 3, 1987 at which the bids for the sanitation contract were read. Following a discussion, the sanitation commissioner stated that "since it was the consensus of the Court to accept [Tobacco Valley's bid], she . . . would award the contract to Tobacco Valley."


4. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on July 2, 1987 the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to include discussion of the bids on the agenda of the June 3, 1987 meeting or to take a two-thirds vote to discuss non-agenda business.


5. By supplemental letter filed with the Commission on July 30, 1987 the complainant requested that the June 3, 1987 meeting of the respondent be declared null and void and that a civil penalty be imposed against the respondent.


6. The respondent admits that the matter of the bids should have been included in the agenda of the June 3, 1987 meeting. The failure to include the matter in the agenda or to take a two-thirds vote to discuss a non-agenda matter violated 1-21(a), G.S.


Docket #FIC 87-189 Page Two


7. The respondent claims, however, that a vote of its members was not required for acceptance of the bid and that none was taken. Rather, following an acknowledgement of the lowest bid, the matter was left for further action by the warden or the sanitation commissioner.


8. Following the June 3, 1987 meeting the sanitation contract was awarded by the warden to Tobacco Valley.


9. It is found, given the authority of the warden to award the sanitation contract, that the June 3, 1987 discussion was solely for the purpose of reviewing bids and not for the purpose of action by the respondent.


10. Because the respondent's discussion of the bids was not a prerequisite to the awarding of the contract, the Commission declines to declare null and void the warden's action.


11. The Commission further declines to impose a civil penalty, as requested by the complainant.


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


1. Henceforth the respondent shall comply with the requirement of 1-21(a), G.S. that discussion of business not included in the agenda of a regular meeting be preceded by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the agency members present and voting.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 28, 1987.



Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission