FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by                        FINAL DECISION

 

George B. Moseley,

 

                        Complainant,

 

            against              Docket #FIC 90-103

 

Litchfield Board of Selectmen,

 

                        Respondent                  August 22, 1990

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 12, 1990, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  This case was consolidated with Docket ##'s FIC 90-93, FIC 90-95 and FIC 90-96 for hearing.

 

            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 filed with the Commission on March 16, 1990, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging the respondent denied him access to and the opportunity to participate in its March 6, 1990 hearing.  The complainant also alleged the respondent held an earlier secret meeting.

 

            3.  It is found that when the complainant attended the respondent's March 6, 1990, meeting, he observed many members of the public standing in the hallway, unable to enter the room.

 

            4.  It is found that after the meeting started one of the selectmen made a motion to move it to a larger space, but the motion failed for lack of a second.

 

            5.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent denied members of the public access to the meeting by failing to provide a large enough meeting space.

 

            6.  It is further concluded that the respondent violated 1-21(a), G.S., by denying members of the public access to the meeting.

 

            7.  It is found that the complainant was unable to speak or otherwise participate in the respondent's March 6, 1990, meeting.

 

Docket #FIC 90-103                           Page Two

 

            8.  It is concluded, however, that failing to give the public an opportunity to speak at a meeting is not a violation of the Freedom of Information Act since it grants no such right.

 

            9.  It is found that at its March 6, 1990, meeting, the respondent made several appointments with little discussion.

 

            10.  It is concluded, however, that lack of extensive discussion alone does not indicate the respondent held an earlier, unnoticed gathering fitting the 1-18a(b), G.S., definition of a meeting.

 

            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 shall forthwith cause a copy of this decision to be conspicuously posted in the town clerk's office and First Selectman's office for a period of 30 days.

 

            3.  So far as it alleges that the respondent did not allow the complainant to participate in the March 6, 1990, meeting and that the respondent held an earlier secret meeting, the complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 22, 1990.

 

                                                         

                                    Tina C. Frappier

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 90-103                           Page Three

 

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:

GEORGE B. MOSELEY

Old South Road

Litchfield, CT 06759

 

LITCHFIELD BOARD OF SELECTMEN

c/o Ralph G. Elliot, Esq.

Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn

CityPlace - 35th Floor

Hartford, CT 06103

 

                                                         

                                    Tina C. Frappier

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission