FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Peter J. Reenstra,

 

Complainant,

 

against Docket #FIC 88‑332

 

Town of Lebanon School Building Committee,

 

Respondent December 14, 1988

 

The above‑captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 3, 1988, at which time the complainant 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. At the respondent's August 4, 1988 special meeting, it took up its agenda item #7, which was listed as "Discuss option of a 2 school system."

 

3. By letter dated August 16, 1988, and filed with the Commission on August 17, 1988, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging the respondent took up items not listed on its agenda.

 

4. The respondent claims that its discussion and actions were properly noticed, and that the issue is moot since it rescinded its actions at its special meeting of September 9, 1988.

 

5. It is found that the heading of the respondent's agenda states when and where it will meet "to act on the Following [sic] items [.]"

 

6. It is found that when the respondent took up item #7 on its agenda, its members made and voted on the following motions:

 

a. "that the SBC look further into a two school system,"

 

b. "that the SBC agree to enter into a contract with Moser, Pilon Nelson for $5,000 for their work on plans for

 

Docket #FIC 88‑332 Page Two

 

a 2 school system pending approval of additional funds by the Board of Finance,"

 

c. and "to ask the Board of Finance for an additional $4,999."

 

7. It is found that the description in agenda item #7 did not apprise the public of the actions described in paragraphs 6b and c, above.

 

8. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1‑21(a), G.S., by transacting business at a special meeting that was not listed on the agenda.

 

9. It is further found that the respondent's practice of using the words "to act" in the heading of the agenda, then using the words "discuss" or "discussion of" in the line items, has created some confusion for members of the public.

 

10. It is found that the respondent rescinded its actions described in paragraphs 6b and c, above, at its September 9, 1988 meeting because the respondent had by that time decided not to pursue the two school system option and did not need a new contract or additional funds.

 

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

 

1. The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1‑21(a), G.S., and clearly list all business to be transacted on its special meeting agenda.

 

2. The respondent shall cause a copy of this final decision to be read aloud at its first meeting after receipt of the notice of final decision in this case.

 

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