FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Sandra Wright,

 

Complainant,

 

against Docket #FIC 87-246

 

East Haven Board of Education,

 

Respondent December 15, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 29, 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. By letter dated August 28, 1987, and filed with the Commission on August 31, 1987, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging the respondent failed to make available to the public within the required time period the votes taken at its August 25, 1987, regular meeting. The complainant also requested a null and void order.

 

3. The respondent claims that the record of the votes was available to the public within the required time.

 

4. It is found that the respondent's administration office is its regular place of business.

 

5. It is found that on both August 27 and 28, 1987, the complainant asked the East Haven town clerk to see the record of votes taken at the respondent's August 25, 1987, meeting.

 

6. It is found that this voting record was not available at the town clerk's office.

 

7. It is found, however, that the voting record was available to the public at the respondent's administration office within the required forty-eight-hour time period.

 

8.     It is concluded that the respondent did not violate the

9.      

Docket #87-246 Page Two

 

1-21(a), G.S., requirement to make the record of votes taken at its meetings available to the public within forty-eight hours.

 

9. Nonetheless, it is found that in the past the respondent was not always consistent in its filing practice or in its staff's explanation of it to members of the public.

 

10. It is found, therefore, that the public could be confused, as the complainant was, about where to obtain the records in question.

 

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 inform the East Haven town clerk that all future requests for the respondent's records of votes should be referred to the respondent's administration office.

 

2. The respondent forthwith shall instruct its staff to explain clearly to members of the public who request the record of votes where and when they are filed.

 

3. The respondent forthwith shall provide each member of its administrative staff, as well as the East Haven town clerk, with a copy of this decision.

 

4. The Commission declines to issue a null and void order.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of December 15, 1987.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission