In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


David J. Ryffel,




against Docket #FIC 88-83


First Selectman Jacquelyn Durrell, Personnel Director Edward Patterson, Town Attorney Roy Ervin and Assistant Town Attorney Donal Collimore of the Town of Fairfield,


Respondents June 8, 1988


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 25, 1988, at which time the complainant 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. On or about February 17, 1988 the complainant made a request of the respondents for the following:


"letters, inter-office memos, notes, whether hand-written or typed, tape recordings or other similar records or information which pertain to any and all phases of the negotiations between the Town of Fairfield and/or its agents and the Fairfield Town Hall Employee's Union as may apply to or be part of the record of negotiations/meetings for contract between the two parties which covers the period from 7-1-87 to 6-30-88."


3. By letter filed with the Commission on March 3, 1988 the complainant appealed the failure of the respondents to provide him the requested records.


Docket #FIC 88-83 Page 2


4. The complainant requested that the Commission impose a civil penalty against the respondents.


5. The respondents requested that the Commission impose a civil penalty against the complainant.


6. The respondents claim that the records being sought by the complainant are exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(9), G.S.


7. Section 1-19(b)(9), G.S., exempts from disclosure records, reports and statements of strategy and negotiations with respect to collective bargaining.


8. It is found that the documents being sought by the complainant embody the negotiating posture of each side when the contract for the 1987-1988 fiscal year was being negotiated between the respondents and the Fairfield Town Hall Employees Association, Inc.


9. It is concluded, therefore, that the documents set forth at paragraph 2, above, constitute records or reports of strategy with respect to collective bargaining within the meaning of 1-19(b)(9), G.S.


10. It is found that the respondent personnel director provided the complainant with a copy of the proposals submitted by the union to the town for negotiation.


11. It is also found that the disclosure of the proposals does not waive or otherwise abrogate the exemption to disclosure created under 1-19(b)(9), G.S.


12. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty against the complainant or the respondents.


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


1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of June 8, 1988.


Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission