In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Marc R. Crowe and The Hartford Courant,




against Docket #FIC 88‑387


Building Department Investigative Committee of the City of New Britain Common Council,


Respondent November 30, 1988


The above‑captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 26, 1988, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #'s FIC 88‑342, 88‑354, 88‑357, and 88‑386.


After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached.


1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1‑18a(a), G.S.


2. The respondent convened in executive session during its meeting of September 21, 1988.


3. By letter dated September 22, 1988 and received by the Commission on September 23, 1988, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent convened in executive session during its September 21, 1988 meeting without stating a reason for the executive session, and that the executive session was convened for an impermissible purpose.


4. It is found and concluded that the respondent violated 1‑21(a), G.S., by voting to convene in executive session without stating the reason for such executive session, as defined in 1‑18a(e), G.S.


Docket #FIC 88‑387 Page 2


5. The respondent claimed at the hearing on this matter that it convened in executive session during its September 21, 1988 meeting to discuss personnel matters relating to the job of Norman Wnuk, an employee of the New Britain building department.


6. It is found that the respondent has the authority only to investigate the facts concerning how two condominium projects were partially built without building permits being granted; report those facts to the New Britain Common Council, the mayor and the building department; and offer recommendations for ameliorating the situation.


7. It is found that the respondent convened in executive session at its September 21, 1988 meeting to elicit testimony from the employee in question, who refused to testify in public, on the policies and procedures of the city building department.


8. It is further found that the respondent did not convene in executive session to discuss or evaluate the performance of the individual employee being questioned.


9. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1‑18a(e) and 1‑21(a), G.S., by convening in executive session for an impermissible purpose.


The following order of 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 1‑18a(e) and 1‑21(a), G.S.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 30, 1988.



Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission