FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Nicholas B. Wynnick,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-298

 

Thelma Komisar, Charlotte Buckley, Michael Dalton, Elizabeth Dearborn, Edward McGoe, Mary Menna, Madeline Sobin, Dorothy Dudchik and Ansonia Library Board of Directors,

 

Respondents March 29, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 19, 1987, at which time the complainant appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint, but the respondents failed to appear.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter of complaint dated October 10, 1987, received and filed with the Commission on October 13, 1987, the complainant alleged the following violations concerning the respondents' September 14, 1987 meeting:

 

a. The respondents convened in executive session for the stated purpose of discussing personnel vacancies;

 

b. The minutes of the respondents' meeting do not reflect the time that they convened in executive session nor the persons in attendance;

 

c. The minutes of the respondents' meeting do not reflect that a vote was taken to reconvene in public session;

 

Docket #FIC 87-298 Page 2

 

d. The minutes do not indicate that a vote was taken to deviate from the agenda;

 

e. The agenda of the respondents' meeting was "merely a format of an agenda" and did not apprise the public of the business to be transacted; and

 

f. The meeting was not held at the time specified in the schedule of regular meetings filed with the town clerk.

 

3. The complainant requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondents.

 

4. With respect to paragraph 2a, above, it is found that during their September 14, 1987 meeting the respondents convened in executive session for the stated purpose of discussing "personnel vacancies and changes."

 

5. It is concluded that the respondents did not convene in executive session at the meeting in question for a permissible purpose within the meaning of 1-18a(e)(1), G.S.

 

6. With respect to paragraph 2b, above, it is concluded that the respondents violated 1-21g(a), G.S., by failing to record the names of the persons in attendance at the executive session in question.

 

7. With respect to paragraph 2c, above, it is concluded that a vote to reconvene in public session, once an executive session has been concluded, is not required by any provision under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

8. With respect to paragraph 2d, above, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate any provision of the Freedom of Information Act by discussing agenda items out of sequence, nor did they violate the Act by not listing the executive session in their agenda.

 

9. With respect to paragraph 2e, above, it is concluded that the respondents' agenda fairly apprised the public of the business to be transacted at the meeting in question.

 

10. With respect to paragraph 2f, above, it is concluded that the respondents violated 1-21(a), G.S., when they called the meeting in question to order at 7:07 p.m., when the schedule of regular meetings filed pursuant to 1-21(a), G.S., states that their regular meetings will convene at 7:30 p.m.

 

Docket #FIC 87-298 Page 3

 

11. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty against the respondents 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 respondents shall, before convening in executive session, accurately state the purpose for such session and record such purpose and the names of the persons in attendance at such session in their minutes, as required by 1-21g(a), G.S.

 

2. Henceforth, the respondents shall convene their regular meetings in accordance with the date, time and place specified in the schedule of regular meetings filed with the town clerk.

 

3. The Commission notes that future failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act will subject the respondents to the possible imposition of civil penalties of up to $1,000.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 23, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission