FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Eleanor de Aguirre,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-443

 

Gales Ferry Fire District,

 

Respondent October 11, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was first heard as a contested case on December 16, 1988, at which time the complainant appeared and offered testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint, but the respondent failed to appear. At the request of the respondent, the case was reopened and heard on March 17, 1989, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and offered testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

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. By letter of complaint dated October 19, 1988 and filed with the Commission on October 20, 1988, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent held an improper "semi-annual meeting" on October 18, 1988.

 

3. By letter of complaint dated November 2, 1988 and filed with the Commission on November 4, 1988, the complainant amended her appeal to the Commission, alleging that the respondent failed to file a schedule of its regular meetings with the Ledyard Town Clerk.

 

4. It is found that the respondent is a special tax district located within the town of Ledyard.

 

5. It is found that the respondent's regular place of business is the Gales Ferry Community Center.

 

6. It is found that the by-laws of the respondent provide for two regular meetings each year, one to be held in May and one to be held in the last week of the month of October.

 

Docket # FIC 88-443 Page 2

 

7. The Commission takes administrative notice that the last week of October, 1988 consisted of the period Sunday, October 23, 1988 through Saturday, October 29, 1988.

 

8. It is found that the respondent held its semi-annual meeting on 0ctober 18, 1988 at the Gales Ferry Community Center.

 

9. It is found that the respondent did not file a schedule of its regular meetings with the Ledyard Town Clerk at least 30 days before the October 18, 1988 meeting.

 

10. It is also found that the respondent failed to prove that it filed a schedule of its regular meetings at the Gales Ferry Community Center at least 30 days before the October 18, 1988 meeting.

 

11. It is concluded that the respondent's October 18, 1988 meeting was a special meeting, not a regular meeting within the meaning of 1-21(a), G.S.

 

12. It is found, however, that the respondent posted notice at the Gales Ferry Community Center on or before October 13, 1988 that its October semi-annual meeting was to be held on October 18, 1988 at the Gales Ferry Community Center.

 

13. Although not raised in the complaint, the Commission notes that the notice of the respondent's October 18, 1988 meeting included the item "other business proper to come before the meeting." In fact, no business other than that specifically described in the notice of a special meeting filed pursuant to 1-21(a), G.S., may be considered or acted upon at a special meeting.

 

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

 

1. Henceforth the respondent shall comply with the regular and special meeting provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

2. The officers and directors of the respondents shall attend an educational workshop to be given by the Commission staff. In complying with this paragraph of the order, the respondent shall contact the Commission staff within 30 days of the notice of Final Decision to set a date, time and place for that workshop.

 

Docket # FIC 88-443 Page 3

 

PURSUANT TO 4-180(c) C.G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE F.O.I.C., OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

ELEANOR DE AGUIREE

1085 Long Cave Road

Gales Ferry, CT 06335

 

GALES FERRY FIRE DISTRICT

c/o Linny Lawrence, President

28 Bluff Road West

Gales Ferry, CT 06335

AND

MARY E. HOLZWORTH, ESQUIRE

Brown, Jacobsen, Jewett & Laudone

22 Courthouse Square

Norwich, CT 06360

 

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

 

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission