In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Amanita Duga, John F. Ward and The Register Citizen,




against Docket #FIC 88-29


Board of Public Safety of the City of Torrington,


Respondent September 14, 1988


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 10, 1988, at which time the parties appeared and presented evidence 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 received by the Commission January 25, 1988, the complainants alleged several illegalities with respect to a meeting held by the respondent on January 20, 1988.


3. The complainants alleged that the respondent's agenda was improper, that the respondent closed an executive session to discuss policy rather than personnel matters, and that it failed to limit attendance as required by 1-21g(a), G.S.


4. It is found that the January 20, 1988 executive session lasted for approximately one hour.


5. It is found that the agenda for the January 20, 1988 meeting described the purpose of the executive session as a discussion of job performance.


6. It is found that the main subject of the executive session was a policy change regarding holiday pay.


7. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that the subject matter of the executive session was the job performance of the chief of police.


8. It is found that the notice for the January 20, 1988 special meeting described the topic of the executive session incorrectly and that the executive session was not held for a proper purpose within the meaning of 1-18a(e), G.S.


Docket #FIC 88-29 page two


9. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1-21, G.S., by creating an improper notice of special meeting and by holding an illegal executive session.


10. It is found that it is not necessary to decide whether the attendance of the chief and the deputy chief of police at the executive session violated 1-21g(a), G.S., because the executive session itself was illegal.


11. Although the complainants requested that the action of the respondent be declared null and void, it is found that this remedy is not appropriate.


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 limit its executive sessions to purposes permitted at 1-18a(e), G.S.


2. Within thirty days of the mailing of the final decision in this case, the respondent shall amend the minutes for its January 20, 1988 meeting to state the reasons for the policy change so the public may be made aware of the reason for the change.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 14, 1988.



Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission