In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Andrew Emery Garson,




against Docket #FIC 87-168


Newtown Conservation Commission,


Respondent January 27, 1988


The above-captioned matter was scheduled as a contested case on July 16, 1987, whereupon it was continued to August 13, 1987, and then to September 17, 1987, at which times the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. Newtown Associates appeared at the hearings and moved to be designated a party. On August 13, 1987, it withdrew its motion.


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 complaint filed with the Commission June 12, 1987, the complainant alleged that, despite his request for notice pursuant to 1-21c, G.S. on April 8, 1987, the respondent failed to provide him with notice of the May 27, 1987, meeting at which it approved application #87-18.


3. It is found that on April 8, 1987, the complainant requested, pursuant to 1-21c, G.S., written notice of any regular meeting, special meeting and any adjournment, continuance or recontinuance of any such meeting related to application #87-18, submitted by Newtown Associates.


4. The respondent claimed it had provided the complainant with the schedule of regular meetings and that 1-21c, G.S., did not require it to provide specific notice of the regular meeting at which it approved application #87-18.


5. Section 1-21c, G.S., provides in relevant part that "a public agency shall, where practicable, give notice by mail of each regular meeting, . . . at least one week prior to the date set for the meeting, to any person who has filed a written request for such notice with such body."


Docket #FIC 87-168 page 2


6. It is found that the respondent's agenda for each regular meeting is posted twenty-four hours prior to its meeting and that the agenda is not completed in time for it to be received by mail so as to provide the complainant with the specific notice he requested.


7. It is found that the complainant was given a copy of the schedule of regular meetings of the respondent on or about April 1, 1987.


8. It is found that prior to the complainant's request on April 8, 1987, pursuant to 1-21c, G.S., the respondent's procedures including its practice of continuing items on the agenda until final disposition were explained to the complainant by the clerk of the respondent.


9. It is found that the clerk called the complainant after his April 8, 1987 request, and told him that it would not be practical to provide him with the agenda of the regular meeting of the respondent in advance of that meeting.


10. It is found that the clerk urged the respondent to call her to find out whether application #87-18 was on the agenda for the regular meeting.


11. It is found that the clerk did not provide the complainant with a copy of the schedule of regular meetings after his April 8, 1987 request because she assumed that he had retained the schedule which she had provided to him prior to his request.


12. It is found that the clerk violated 1-21c, G.S. when she failed to provide him with the list of regular meetings of the respondent after his April 8, 1987, request.


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


1. The respondent shall henceforth comply with the requirements of 1-21c, G.S.


2. The Commission notes that the violation found herein is a technical one. It recognizes that the clerk of the respondent Commission acted in good faith and made a substantial effort to satisfy the complainant's request for notice.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 27, 1988.



Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission