FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Bernard Lavey and Hamden Taxpayers Association,

 

Complainants,

 

against Docket #FIC 87-369

 

Councilman Arthur E. Moan, Jr. and Hamden Legislative Council,

 

Respondents April 13, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 28, 1988, at which time the complainants and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated December 10, 1987, and filed with the Commission on December 14, 1987, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that at their special meeting of December 7, 1987, the respondents took up an item not on the agenda. The complainants also requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondents.

 

3. The respondents claim that the item in question was

properly on the agenda. At the hearing the respondents moved for dismissal of the complaint and requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the complainants for bringing a frivolous complaint.

 

4. It is found that, among other items, an amendment to the special meeting's agenda listed:

 

"TRANSFER OF FUNDS - MAYOR'S OFFICE - $7500.

(Prof/Tech Svcx) FROM E & C"

 

5. It is found that when the respondent council considered this item, the respondent councilman referred to remarks made by the complainant Mr. Lavey during a public forum that took place before the special meeting in question. The councilman then

 

Docket #FIC 87-369 Page Two

 

read a letter he had mailed to Mr. Lavey, which asked for clarification of Mr. Lavey's status in the complainant taxpayer association and information on the organizational structure and finances of the association.

 

6. It is found that the respondent councilman's remarks were within the context of the listed agenda item and the complainants' stated position on it.

 

7. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents only took up items on the agenda and did not violate 1-21(a), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

2. Nonetheless, the Commission is concerned about certain practices of the respondent council that were not the subject of this complaint but became known to the Commission during the evidentiary hearing. The Commission reminds the respondent that each public forum it holds before a meeting is a proceeding of the agency and constitutes a meeting that requires notice, an agenda and minutes.

 

3. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty against any party.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 13, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission