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 87-374

 

Hamden Legislative Council,

 

Respondent Arpil 13, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 28, 1988, 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. By letter dated December 10, 1987, and filed with the Commission on December 16, 1987, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that during a recess in the respondent's meeting of December 7, 1987, the respondent's Democrats held a caucus with a non-member present. The complainants requested that any votes taken after that recess be declared null and void.

 

3. The respondent claims that its Democrats did not hold a caucus during the recess. At the hearing the respondent requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the complainants for bringing a frivolous complaint.

 

4. At the hearing councilmen Gagliardi and Moan testified that the Democrats did not initiate their usual procedure for calling a caucus and that a quorum of the Democrats never conferred during the recess.

 

5. It is found that the respondent met its burden of proving that there was no convening or assembly of the council's Democrats during the recess.

 

6. It is concluded, therefore, that no caucus, as defined by 1-18a(b), G.S., occurred and that the respondent did not violate 1-21(a), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 87-374 Page Two

 

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 the complainants.

 

4. The Commission declines to declare null and void that portion of the respondent's December 7, 1987, special meeting occurring after the recess.

 

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