In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Michael L. Quinn and Richard F. Boyne III,




against Docket #FIC 88‑299


City of West Haven Offshore Feasibility Advisory Committee,


Respondent November 9, 1988


The above‑captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 2, 1988, at which time the complainants and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1‑18a(a), G.S.


2. By letter dated June 20, 1988 the complainants made a request of the respondent for notices of all meetings, pursuant to 1‑21c, G.S.


3. By letter dated July 20, 1988 and filed with the Commission on July 25, 1988 the complainants alleged that the respondent was scheduled to hold a regular meeting on July 21, 1988, that the complainant Quinn did not receive a notice of such meeting until July 20, 1988 and that the complainant Boyne had not, as of July 20, 1988, received any notice of the meeting.


4. The respondent held a regular meeting on July 21, 1988. The complainant Quinn attended the July 21, 1988 meeting but the complainant Boyne did not.


5. Notice of the respondent's July 21, 1988 regular meeting was mailed to the complainant Quinn on July 15, 1988. The address to which the notice was sent did not include Mr. Quinn's house number, although the house number had been provided.


6. Notice of the respondent's July 21, 1988 meeting was mailed to the complainant Boyne on July 22, 1988.


Docket #FIC 88‑299 Page Two


7. The respondent concedes that, through an error, notices of its July 21, 1988 meeting were not sent to the complainants in a timely manner, in violation of 1‑21c, G.S.


8. The respondent claims that the notice to the complainant Boyne was prepared at the same time as other notices mailed on July 15, 1988, but that a secretary failed to collect it for mailing along with the other notices.


9. It is found that the respondent's failure to mail notices in a timely manner, compounded by its failure to include Mr. Quinn's house number when addressing a notice to him, indicates a regrettable lack of respect for the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.


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


1. The respondent forthwith shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1‑21c, G.S. regarding notices of meetings.


2. The Commission notes that because Mr. Quinn attended the July 21, 1988 meeting and because Mr. Boyne received notice of the meeting through Mr. Quinn, the practical effect of the respondent's violation of 1‑21c, G.S. was, in this instance, minimal. The Commission cautions the respondent, however, that future violations may not only have more serious consequences, they will also subject the respondent to the possibility of civil penalties.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 9, 1988.



Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission