FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Robert P. Dandeneau and Waterbury, Police Union, Local 1237,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 88‑368

 

Fred Giusti, Victor Guerrera, John Lombardo, Francis Nardozzi, Salvatore Porzio, Carl Swanson, Charles Mallon and Board of Police Commissioners of the City of Waterbury,

 

Respondents December 20, 1988

 

The above‑captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 28, 1988, at which time the complainants 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 September 9, 1988 and filed with the Commission on September 12, 1988 the complainants alleged that on August 8, 1988 the respondent held an improper executive session to discuss an accident report and allowed "none [sic] Board members access for the entire meeting." The complainants requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondents.

 

3. By letter dated October 6, 1988 and filed with the Commission on October 7, 1988 the complainants amended their complaint to state that the date of the executive session in question was September 1, 1988, not August 8, 1988.

 

4. At hearing the complainant withdrew his allegation that while convened in executive session the respondent discussed an accident report.

 

5. Also at hearing the complainant withdrew his request for the imposition of a civil penalty and, instead, requested that the respondents be required to schedule an informational workshop on the subject of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Docket #FIC 88‑368 Page Two

 

6. It is found that on September 1, 1988 the respondent board convened in executive session for approximately 25 minutes to discuss "personnel matters." The purpose of the executive session was to discuss which police officers deserved commendations.

 

7. It is found that the September 1, 1988 executive session was attended by the Waterbury superintendent and deputy superintendent of police, who are not members of the respondent board.

 

8. The respondents claims that the presence of the superintendent and deputy superintendent was necessary to provide information regarding officers' performance.

 

9. It is found that the presence of the superintendent and deputy superintendent during the September 1, 1988 executive session for the purpose of presenting their opinions regarding which police officers deserved commendations did not violate 1‑21g(a), G.S.

 

10. Although not raised in the complainants' complaint and, therefore, beyond the scope of this report, the Commission notes that the respondents apparently did not provide the officers who were discussed in executive session the opportunity to require that the discussion be held at an open meeting, as required by 1‑18a(e)(1), G.S.

 

11. The Commission also notes that, although not raised in the complaint, the respondent board's announced purpose for the executive session, "personnel matters," was so vague as to fail to identify a proper purpose for the executive session, as required by 1‑21(a), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

2. Although the Commission declines to issue an order requiring an informational workshop on the subject of the Freedom of Information Act, the Commission hopes that the respondents voluntarily will avail themselves of the opportunity to become better informed regarding the Act's requirements.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of December 20, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission