FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Barbara Whiting

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-455

 

Redding Board of Tax Review,

 

Respondent June 28, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 13, 1989, and February 3, 1989. At those times the parties appeared and presented evidence and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. It is found that the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By complaint filed November 14, 1988, the complainant alleged that the respondent failed to comply with the Commission order in #FIC 88-156, Barbara Whiting v. the Redding Board of Tax Review.

 

3. The complainant alleged that the respondent did not comply with the order because its reconstructed minutes did not state the vote, because the minutes were inconsistent with the appeal documents, and because the total of tax adjustments shown was inconsistent with the total on prior minutes.

 

4. It is found that on September 14, 1988, in its final decision in #FIC 88-156, the Commission ordered the respondent to "amend the minutes of its March 16, March 17, March 18 and March 19, 1988 meetings to reflect the consensus reached by its members concerning the status of each appeal petition considered at those meetings respectively."

 

5. It is found that the reconstructed minutes contained ten errors.

 

6. It is found that the amended minutes listed the property of Donna Dorn incorrectly as having no change when in fact there was a reduction in assessment.

 

Docket #FIC 88-455 Page 2

 

7. It is found that the amended minutes listed a reduction in assessment of $1,500 on five properties based upon veterans' exemptions which are administered by the assessor. Such reduction was not authorized by the respondent at the meetings which were described in the minutes.

 

8. It is found that the amended minutes contained errors in the stated assessment for four other properties which varied in amount from $12,730 to $496 which resulted from using the assessor's grand list as a basis for the creation of the amended minutes.

 

9. It is found that the errors were not intentional, but rather the result of the use of the grand list to obtain the assessments stated in the amended minutes.

 

10. It is found that the amended minutes describe the actions taken by the respondent with the phrase "full consensus."

 

11. It is found that for the purpose of recording votes as required by 1-21, G.S., a full consensus is the equivalent of a unanimous vote.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall amend the amended minutes for March 16, March 17, March 18, and March 19, 1988, to correct the errors shown at hearing.

 

2. The Commission urges the respondent to use the word vote rather than consensus in its description of its actions because no matter what those actions are called, if they are in effect a vote, they are subject to the recording requirement set forth at 1-21, G.S.

 

DOCKET FIC# 88-455 Page Three

 

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:

BARBARA WHITING, Box 12, Redding Ridge, CT 06876

 

REDDING BOARD OF TAX REVIEW, c/o Michael N. LaVelle, Esquire,

Pullman Comley Bradley & Reeves, 855 Main Street, Bridgeport,

CT 06604

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 28, 1989.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission