FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Ann E. Compton and The Stratford Star,
against Docket #FIC 90-80
Stratford Town Council,
Respondent October 10, 1990
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 14, 1990, at which time the complainants 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. By letter filed with this Commission on March 1, 1990, the complainants alleged that the respondent conducted impermissible executive sessions in January and February 1990 by discussing matters not permitted pursuant to 1-18a(e), G.S. and by voting in executive session.
3. It is found that the town of Stratford ("the town") engaged Genitron, Inc. ("Genitron") to coordinate and eventually supervise the operation of a waste-to-energy plant; arrangments were also made for two other organizations to construct the plant and to provide design technology.
4. It is found that by the terms of the Solid Waste Disposal Facility Construction Agreement between Genitron Inc. and the town, any and all claims pertaining to or arising out of or relating to that agreement would be finally settled by arbitration if the parties were unable to first resolve such claims themselves.
5. It is found that as part of a complex financing arrangement, Genitron put up a bond in the amount of $250,000.00 with the town to secure the first steps of the process until a letter of credit could be arranged through other channels.
Docket #FIC 90-80 Page 2
6. It is further found that in September 1985, the town found Genitron in technical default on an agreement to secure the letter of credit, at which time the town called the bond identified in paragraph 5, above.
7. It is found that subsequent to the events outlined in paragraph 6, above, a letter of credit was in fact provided, after which time Genitron made a claim to the town for the return of the $250,000.00 bond amount.
8. It is found that the town is self-insured and that claims against it must be presented to, discussed and decided by its legislative body, the respondent.
9. It is further found, however, that in the circumstances of this case, the respondent also undertook a role performing the function of a local solid waste disposal authority.
10. It is found that the respondent, in its role as a local solid waste disposal authority, was a party to the claim of Genitron and in that capacity discussed its strategy with respect to the claim identified in paragraph 7, above, in executive sessions in January and February, 1990, which discussions led to settlement of the claim in issue.
11. It is also found that no improper votes were taken by the respondent in the executive sessions identified in paragraph 9, above.
12. It is concluded that under the facts of this case, the respondent did not violate the executive session provisions of the FOI Act.
The following order of the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the complete record in the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
2. Although not within the scope of this complaint, based on testimony given at hearing, the Commission cautions the respondent against conducting discussions concerning threatened litigation in executive session where no actual claim or litigation is then pending, as such practice would constitute a violation of 1-18a(e), G.S.
3. The Commission also takes this opportunity to point out to the respondent that by using names rather than docket numbers to identify the matters discussed in executive session,
Docket #FIC 90-80 Page 3
the respondent may have avoided the appearance of intending to deprive the public of knowledge concerning the matters discussed in its executive session.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 10, 1990.
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 90-80 Page 4
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:
ANN E. COMPTON AND THE STRATFORD STAR
6515 Main Street
Trumbull, CT 06611
STRATFORD TOWN COUNCIL
c/o Richard P. Gilardi, Esq.
Assistant Town Attorney
2725 Main Street
Stratford, CT 06497
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission