FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Edward R. Grant,
against Docket #FIC 89-155
Stafford Ambulance Association, Inc.,
Respondent January 24, 1990
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 6, 1989, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. On April 30, 1989, the respondent held a meeting, not open to the public, to discuss suspending the complainant. In addition to the complainant, seven of the eight members of the respondent's executive board were present.
3. By letter dated May 8, 1989, and filed with the Commission on May 9, 1989, the complainant appealed to the Commission.
4. At the Commission's hearing on this matter, the complainant requested that a civil penalty be imposed upon the respondent.
5. It is found that on April 30, 1989, the respondent's president telephoned the complainant and informed him that he was being suspended and that the executive board would hold a hearing. At the complainant's request, the hearing was scheduled to take place that evening at the Stafford town hall.
6. It is found that the complainant arrived at the hearing with two other members of the respondent who were not members of the executive board.
7. It is found that the two members accompanying the complainant were asked to leave and did so. The respondent's chairman announced that it would be a closed meeting, despite
Docket #FIC 89-155 Page Two
the complainant's request for an open meeting.
8. It is found that the members of the respondent's executive board asked the complainant many questions, that the complainant then left, and that the executive board voted to suspend the complainant until September 1989.
9. It is found that on September 10, 1989, the full membership of the respondent voted to rescind the complainant's suspension and to offer the complainant a hearing at an open meeting.
10. It is found that this open meeting was scheduled to take place on October 8, 1989, and to be a fully public hearing.
11. It is found that a hearing of the respondent's executive board, attended by seven of its eight members, is a meeting within the meaning of 1-18a(b), G.S.
12. It is found that the respondent's executive board failed to file a notice or agenda of its April 30, 1989, special meeting with the municipal clerk twenty-four hours before the meeting took place.
13. It is further found that the respondent's executive board failed to allow public access to its meeting.
14. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent's executive board violated 1-21(a), G.S., by failing to allow public access at its meeting and failing to file a proper notice and agenda.
15. It is found that, although the complainant has held several offices in the time he has served the respondent, at the time in question he did not hold any office.
16. It is found that the discussion of the performance and suspension of a rank-and-file volunteer to a public agency is not the discussion of the performance and suspension of a public employee or officer.
17. It is concluded that the respondent did not discuss in its closed meeting any topic allowed to be discussed in executive session by 1-18a(e), G.S.
18. It is found that the respondent failed to take the necessary vote to convene in executive session and failed to publicly announce the purpose of the executive session.
Docket #FIC 89-155 Page Three
19. Thus it is concluded the respondent further violated 1-21(a), G.S., by convening in executive session for an impermissible purpose, by failing to follow the procedures required for convening in executive session, and by voting in executive session.
The following order of the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the complete record in the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with the open meeting requirements of 1-21(a), G.S.
2. The respondent's executive board and membership shall attend an educational workshop to be given by a Commission staff attorney within 60 days of the mailing of the notice of final decision in this matter.
3. The Commission declines to issue a civil penalty in this matter.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 24, 1990.
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 89-155 Page Four
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
EDWARD R. GRANT
9 Arnold Lane
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
STAFFORD AMBULANCE ASSOCIATION, INC.
c/o Joseph D. Courtney, Esq.
P.O. Box 508
Vernon, CT 06066
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission