In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Mario Tristany,




against Docket #FIC 88-56


Norwich City Council and Norwich City Manager,


Respondents September 14, 1988


The above-captioned matter was heard on April 4, 1988, and June 7, 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


2. By letter dated February 17, 1988, the complainant alleged that the respondents held an illegal executive session, January 26, 1988, to discuss his performance and to decide how to penalize him for making an improper telephone call.


3. The complainant alleged that the executive session violated 1-18a(e)(1), G.S., because he wanted any such discussion to be open to the public.


4. It is found that the complainant was planning director of the City of Norwich.


5. It is found that the respondent city manager reports to the respondent council and that he was the supervisor of the complainant.


6. It is found that the City of Norwich received a letter which threatened a lawsuit and alleged that the complainant planning director was responsible for problems created by a telephone call to Delaware.


7. It is found that the respondent council held its executive session to discuss the city manager's handling of the incident.


Docket FIC#88-56 page two


8. It is found that certain persons, including the complainant, were present during the four-hour executive session to give testimony.


9. It is found that the complainant was in attendance at the executive session briefly to answer the following questions:


(a) Did you initiate a call to Delaware?

(b) Were you authorized, directly or by suggestion,

that you should [sic] make that call?

(c) When did you first discuss this incident with

the city manager? To your knowlege, was that the first the manager was aware of this matter?

10. It is found that at the conclusion of the executive session the respondent council adopted as a resolution a letter of reprimand addressed to the respondent city manager.


11. It is found that the letter of reprimand did not specify what action the respondent manager should take regarding the complainant.


12. It is found that on January 27, 1988, after receiving the letter of reprimand, the respondent city manager suspended the complainant for ten days.


13. It is found that the executive session held on January 26, 1988, was not a discussion of the planning director, but rather was a discussion of the performance of the respondent city manager for a purpose permitted by 1-18a(e)(1), G.S.

14. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-21, G.S., on January 26, 1988.


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


1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.


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