FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

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

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 88-31

 

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 of complaint filed with the Commission January 27, 1988, the complainants alleged that the respondent held an illegal emergency meeting and an illegal executive session on December 31, 1987.

3. The respondent claimed both the emergency meeting and the executive session were proper and lawful.

 

4. It is found that, on December 17, 1987, the office of the governor issued a news release which showed that Torrington was the recipient of a drug grant of approximately $29,000.

 

5. It is found that the complainant, Amanita Duga, called the office of policy and management regarding the Torrington drug grant and learned that Torrington proposed to use the grant to purchase a high tech, state of the art narcotics van for approximately $25,000 to support its narcotics investigations and arrests.

 

6. It is found that, on December 31, 1987, an article written by the complainant, Amanita Duga, appeared in the Register Citizen. It summarized the information she had gathered concerning the Torrington drug grant and the intended purchase of the narcotics van by the Torrington police.

 

Docket #FIC 88-31 page two

 

7. It is found that city officials reacted negatively to the newspaper article. The mayor stated publicly that disclosure of the contemplated purchase of the van would endanger the lives of husbands and sons.

 

8. It is found that, on December 31, 1987, the day the newspaper article appeared, the respondent held the emergency meeting and the executive session which is the subject of this complaint.

 

9. It is found that among the matters discussed at the executive session was whether or not to return the grant for the narcotics van to the state.

 

10. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that any emergency existed which required that the respondent meet without the twenty-four hour notice required for a special meeting under 1-21, G.S.

 

11. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent failed to comply with the notice provisions of 1-21, G.S. when it held its emergency meeting on December 31, 1987.

 

12. It is further found that the respondent failed to prove that the executive session which it held on December 31, 1987, was held for a proper purpose under 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

13. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-18a(e), and 1-21, G.S., when it held its executive session on December 31, 1987.

 

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 comply with 1-21 and 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

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