FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Dr. Mark D. Lurie, William T. Hewes, Edith L. Leopold, Carolyn Mufatti, and Roy D. Fisher,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 88-145

 

Edward R. Olsen, Beatrice Isabelle, Gail Adams, Janet Pratt, Barbara Mitchell, James Manzi and Board of Education of the Town of Hartland,

 

Respondents August 24, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 10, 1988, with #FIC 88-146, because some of the parties were identical and because they consented to the consolidation of the cases. At that 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 of complaint dated April 16, 1988, the complainants alleged that the respondents held an illegal executive session on April 11, 1988 to discuss a bond issue with their attorney and they asked that the Commission impose upon the respondents one or more of the penalties set forth at 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

3. The respondents claimed the executive session was held for a proper purpose under 1-18a(e)(5) and 1-21g(b), G.S., because it was a discussion of a letter written by their attorney, privileged by the attorney-client privilege, and exempt under 1-19(b)(10), G.S.

 

4. It is found that, on April ll, 1988, the respondents held an executive session to discuss the substance of a letter from its counsel concerning the rejection of a proposal for a bond issue by the board of finance.

 

5. It is found that the letter from the respondents' counsel, which had been requested by the superintendent of schools, addressed issues raised by the rejection of the bond

 

Docket #FIC 88-145 page two

 

issue proposal.

 

6. It is found that the motion of the respondents to move into executive session stated that the purpose of the executive session was to talk to the board's attorney.

 

7. It is concluded that the motion did not clearly state a proper purpose for an executive session within the meaning of 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

8. It is concluded, however, that the discussion was held for a proper purpose within the meaning of 1-18a(e) and 1-21g(b), G.S., since it concerned discussion of a letter which was exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(10), G.S.

 

9. It is concluded that it is not appropriate for this Commission to impose any penalties pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The respondents shall henceforth comply with the requirements of 1-21 and 1-18a(e), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of August 24, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission