FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Richard Kately and IBPO, Local 360,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-320

 

Clinton Board of Police Commissioners,

 

Respondent February 24, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 7, 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 regular meeting of October 13, 1987, the respondent convened in executive session to discuss the complainant police officer's difficulties in obtaining a hearing aid. The complainant officer was present during the executive session.

 

3. By letter dated October 28, 1987 and filed with the Commission on October 29, 1987, the complainant officer alleged the respondent never notified him prior to the executive session in violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

4. Specifically, the complainants alleged the respondent violated 1-18a(e)(1) and 1-21(a), G.S., in that:

 

a. The respondent failed to state the specific item to be discussed at an executive session on the agenda for its October 13, 1987 regular meeting.

 

b. The respondent failed to notify the complainant officer that he would be subject to a disciplinary hearing in executive session and failed to provide him with an opportunity to request the discussion be held in public.

 

Docket #FIC 87-320 Page 2

 

c. The respondent failed to state the purposes for convening in executive session in the minutes of its October 13, 1987 regular meeting.

 

d. The respondent impermissibly discussed the complainant officer's performance in public.

 

5. The complainants also requested the Commission to declare all disciplinary action taken against the complainant officer null and void.

 

6. The respondent claims that:

 

a. It prepared the agenda in advance of its October 13, 1987 regular meeting at which an attorney from the Freedom of Information Commission conducted a seminar on freedom of information laws.

 

b. It notified the complainant officer prior to its October 13, 1987 regular meeting that he would be discussed in executive session and gave him an opportunity to have the discussion held in public.

 

c. Although the minutes of the October 13, 1987 meeting failed to reflect the stated purposes for convening in executive session, the respondent stated the purposes for convening in those sessions at that meeting.

 

d. The complainant officer cannot compel the respondent to discuss his performance in executive session.

 

7. It is found at its October 13, 1987 regular meeting, the respondent convened in executive session for the stated purpose of discussing "personnel matters."

 

8. It also is found the statement "personnel matters" failed to identify sufficiently the purpose for convening in executive session and therefore the respondent violated 1-18a(e) and 1-21(a), G.S.

 

9. It further is found prior to its October 13, 1987 regular meeting, the respondent notified the complainant officer that he would be discussed in executive session and gave him an opportunity to have the discussion held in public. The complainant officer did not request the discussion be held in public.

 

Docket #FIC 87-320 Page 3

 

10. It therefore is concluded the respondent provided the complainant with sufficient notice that he would be discussed in executive session within the meaning of 1-18a(e)(1), G.S.

 

11. It is found that although the complainants alleged the respondent failed to provide the complainant officer with sufficient notice that he would be subject to a disciplinary hearing in executive session, the Commission does not have jurisdiction over that issue.

 

12. It also is found the respondent convened in executive session to discuss the performance of two employees several times during its October 13, 1987 regular meeting and stated the purposes for those sessions at that meeting.

 

13. It is found, however, the respondent failed to state the purposes for convening in executive session in the minutes of its October 13, 1987 regular meeting.

 

14. It therefore is concluded the respondent's failure to state specifically the purposes for convening in executive session in the minutes of its October 13, 1987 regular meeting violated 1-21(a), G.S.

 

15. It also is concluded there is no provision in the Freedom of Information Act that compels a public agency to discuss an employee's performance in executive session. The respondent, therefore, did not violate 1-18a(e)(1), G.S., when it discussed the complainant officer's performance in public.

 

16. The Commission declines to declare the disciplinary action taken against the complainant officer null and void.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith amend the minutes of its October 13, 1987 regular meeting to reflect the stated purposes for convening in executive session at that meeting.

 

2. Henceforth, the respondent shall act in strict complaince with the requirements of 1-21(a), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 24, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission