FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Gina Brisgone, Edward Frede and the Danbury News-Times,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-226

 

Board of Ethics of the City of Danbury,

 

Respondent November 12, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 4, 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. At its meeting of July 9, 1987, the respondent convened in executive session to protect the confidentiality of a complaint being discussed.

 

3. By letter dated July 16, 1987, the complainant Gina Brisgone requested a copy of that same complaint, which was received by the respondent on June 30, 1987, and concerned a conflict of interest charge against three members of the City of Danbury government.

 

4. The complainants never received a copy of the requested record.

 

5. By letter dated August 5, 1987, and filed with the Commission on August 6, 1987, the complainants appealed to the Commission, requesting that it:

 

a. order the respondent to provide the complainants with a copy of the record described in paragraph 3 above,

 

b. find the executive session described in paragraph 2 above improper,

 

c. and declare null and void those portions of the Danbury

 

Docket # FIC 87-226 Page Two

 

municipal ordinances governing the respondent that conflict with the Freedom of Information Act.

 

6. It is found that the requested record is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S., and does not fall within any of the 1-19(b), G.S., exemptions.

 

7. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainants with a copy of the requested record.

 

8. It is found that the respondent convened in executive session for a purpose not listed in 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

9. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1-21(a), G.S., by convening in executive session for an improper purpose.

 

10. It is found, however, that the respondent in good faith followed the City of Danbury's Ordinance 4(e), which permits confidentiality for the respondent's probable cause investigations.

 

11. It is further found that the City of Danbury's Common Council already has proposed amendments to its Ordinance 4(e) which would put it in full accord with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and plans to vote on the proposal by the end of October.

 

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

 

1. The respondent forthwith shall provide the complainants with a copy of the record described in paragraph 3 of the findings above.

 

2. The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with 1-15, 1-19(a) and 1-21(a), G.S.

 

3. The Commission declines to declare null and void the City of Danbury's Ordinance 4(e).

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 12, 1987.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission