FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

John P. Ambrogio,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-188

 

President, Legislative Council of Hamden, and Legislative Council of Hamden,

 

Respondents January 11, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 7, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. In a Final Decision dated September 28, 1988 the Commission ordered the respondent president and respondent council members Paul G. Bassett, Jean E. Blue, Samuel A. Burrell, Jr., Lillian D. Clayman, James E. Couzens, John P. Flanagan, Harry A. Gagliardi, Jr., James J. Garrahan, Michael Mauro, Robert A. Miller, Arthur E. Moan, Jr., Alan C. Schmoll, Joseph N. Velardi and Peter J. Whitman to appear before the Commission to show cause why a civil penalty should not be imposed pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S. A supplemental hearing was held on November 17, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the issue of the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondents, pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

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

 

1. Paragraphs 1 through 25 of the Final Decision in Docket #FIC 88-188 (hereinafter "Final Decision") are hereby incorporated as if more fully set forth herein.

 

2. It is found that on May 12, 1988 the respondent president informed the complainant that the respondent council had voted to delete three investigative positions from the Hamden police department's budget.

 

3. It is found that in a May 15, 1988 letter to the respondent president the complainant referred to the respondent council's action to delete the three positions as

 

Docket #FIC 88-188 page two

 

"irresponsible," and to actions of the respondent president as "improper," unethical" and "unprofessional," and accused the respondents of abusing their authority. In the same letter, the complainant inquired as to the date of the action, whether there was public notice, which members attended and how they voted.

 

4. In a May 17, 1988 letter to the complainant, the respondent president stated the date of the meeting at which the votes in question were taken, that the meeting was a public meeting, that all members of the respondent council were present and that their votes were a matter of public record.

 

5. In his May 18, 1988 letter of request, referred to in paragraph 2 of the findings in the Final Decision, the complainant accused the respondent president of being evasive and, unmistakably, placed his request for records within the context of the dispute over the alleged impropriety of the respondent council's vote.

 

6. It is found that the respondent president does not maintain an office in the Hamden Town Hall and that requests for records are routinely processed by the respondent president's administrative assistant.

 

7. It is concluded that the respondent president's May 20, 1988 request that the complainant make his requests for records in person, to the respondent president's administrative assistant, which resulted in the denial of prompt access to records, does not merit the imposition of a civil penalty.

 

8. It is further found that the respondents' failure to record the votes of agency members on a matter before the respondent council has been dealt with by a Commission order in the Final Decision in FIC #88-188 requiring that minutes of the meeting at which the votes were taken be amended to include the votes.

 

9. The Commission, therefore, declines to impose a civil penalty with respect to the violation found in paragraph 24 of the findings in the Final Decision.

 

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

 

1. The Commission hereby declines to impose a civil penalty against the respondents with respect to the violations found in paragraphs 11, 14 and 24 of the Final Decision in the above matter.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 11, 1989.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission