FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Mary Ellen Marucci,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88‑320

 

New Haven Board of Education and Building Committee of the New Haven Board of Education,

Respondents December 14, 1988

 

The above‑captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 3, 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. By letter of complaint dated and filed with the Commission on August 5, 1988 the complainant alleged that the respondent committee violated the notice and minutes requirements of the Freedom of Information Act with respect to meetings held May 10, June 16, June 30 and July 7, 1988.

 

3. At hearing, the complainant narrowed her complaint to eliminate allegations concerning the May 10, 1988 meeting, that meeting having been the subject of a previously‑filed complaint, Docket #FIC 88‑179.

 

4. Also at hearing the complainant requested that the actions taken by the respondent committee at its June 16, June 30 and July 7, 1988 meetings be declared null and void.

 

5. It is found that the respondent committee's June 16 and June 30, 1988 meetings were held more than 30 days prior to the filing of the complainant's complaint.

 

Docket #FIC 88‑320 Page Two

 

6. It is found, however, that notice of the respondent committee's June 16, 1988 meeting was not filed with the New Haven city clerk until June 17, 1988 and that notice of its June 30, 1988 meeting was not filed until July 1, 1988.

 

7. The respondents failed to prove that the respondent committee's June 16 and June 30, 1988 meetings were otherwise properly noticed, as required by 1‑21(a), G.S.

 

8. It is concluded that the respondent committee's June 16 and June 30, 1988 meetings were unnoticed meetings within the meaning of 1‑21i(b), G.S.

 

9. It is further found that it was not until July 7, 1988 that the complainant received notice in fact that the June 16 and June 30, 1988 meetings had been held.

 

10. It is therefore concluded, pursuant to 1‑21i(b), G.S., that the complaint was timely filed with respect to the respondent committee's June 16 and June 30, 1988 meetings.

 

11. It is further concluded that the respondent committee violated 1‑21(a), G.S. when it failed to provide notice to the public of its June 16 and June 30, 1988 meetings.

 

12. It is further found that notice of a July 7, 1988 meeting of the respondent committee, to be held at 4:30 p.m., was filed with the city clerk at 11:05 a.m. on July 7, 1988.

 

13. It is concluded that the respondent committee violated 1‑21(a), G.S. when it failed to provide notice of its July 7, 1988 meeting at least 24 hours prior to the time of the meeting.

 

14. It is found that the respondent committee failed to make available to the public, within 7 days, minutes of its June 16, June 30 and July 7, 1988 meetings, in violation of 1‑21(a), G.S.

 

15. As of the date of hearing, minutes of the June 30 and July 7, 1988 meetings had been made available to the public, but minutes of the June 16, 1988 meeting were still unavailable.

 

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

 

1. The respondent committee, within three days of the Final Decision in this matter, shall provide to the complainant, and make available for public inspection, minutes of its June 16, 1988 meeting.

 

Docket #FIC 88‑320 Page Three

 

2. The respondent committee henceforth shall act in strict compliance with the terms of 1‑21(a), G.S. regarding notices and minutes of meetings. Failure to so comply in the future will subject the respondent committee and each of its members directly responsible for the denial of a right guaranteed by the Freedom of Information Act to the possible imposition of civil penalties of up to $1,000.

 

3. The Commission declines to declare null and void the actions of the respondent committee at its June 16, June 30 and July 7, 1988 meetings.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of December 14, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission