FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Angelo J. DeLeon and Fairfield Police Union, IBOP, Local 530,
against Docket #FIC 90-350
Fairfield Board of Police Commissioners,
Respondent July 24, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 14, 1991, 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 of complaint dated August 27, 1990 and filed with the Commission on August 29, 1990, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that individuals were present at the respondent's August 8, 1990 meeting without presenting testimony or opinion pertinent to any matters before the respondent, and that the minutes for the session did not disclose all persons in attendance.
3. It is found that the respondent convened in executive session at its August 8, 1990 meeting to discuss personnel matters, which matters included the hearing of grievances presented by the complainants pertaining to shift differentials, overtime and matron duty.
4. It is found that the the grievance proceedings were at their second step, having first been heard by the chief of police ("chief").
5. It is found that the chief routinely attends many second-step grievance proceedings when asked by the respondents to be available to assert the management's position, provide factual background on the controversy, or interpret the collective bargaining agreement.
6. It is also found that the chief attended the August 8, 1990 executive session.
Docket #FIC 90-350 Page 2
7. It is found that the chief is not a member of the respondent.
8. It is found that the chief was invited by the respondent to attend the executive session to be available to provide testimony or opinion as described in paragraph 5, above.
9. It is found that the chief actually provided no testimony or opinion during the executive session.
10. It is found, however, that the chief's presence during the executive session was necessary in order that he be available to provide testimony or opinion on matters that arose during the complainants' presentation of the grievance to the respondent, or the respondent's discussion of it.
11. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-21g(a), G.S., by permitting the chief to attend the executive session.
12. It is found that the first selectman and her administrative assistant attended the portion of the executive session prior to the presentation of grievances by the complainants, and that the first selectman then left and her administrative assistant remained when the complainants arrived to present grievances.
13. At the request of the respondent, the Commission takes administrative notice of pages C13 through C15 of the Charter of the Town of Fairfield ("Charter").
14. Article III (Executive Branch), Section A (Board of Selectmen), Subsection 5 of the Charter provides that the first selectman "shall be an ex officio member, without vote, on all Town boards and commissions."
15. It is concluded that the mayor is a member of the respondent within the meaning of 1-21g(a), G.S., and that the respondent did not violate 1-21g(a), G.S., by permitting the mayor to attend the executive session.
16. Article III, Section B, Subsection 2 (First Selectman), Paragraph a of the Charter also provides that the first selectman "is empowered to convene the members of any or all boards and commissions to review and coordinate activities and to plan operations of the town government. . . ."
17. The Charter also provides in that same paragraph that the first selectman "may delegate such authority as may be necessary to . . . administrative assistants whose appointment may be authorized by the RTM."
Docket #FIC 90-350 Page 3
18. It is concluded that the Charter empowers the first selectman to designate an administrative assistant to attend an executive session in her place, and that the respondent therefore did not violate 1-21g(a), G.S., by permitting the administrative assistant to attend the grievance proceeding in the first selectman's place.
19. With respect to the complainant's allegation concerning the minutes of the executive session, it is found that the minutes disclose all persons in attendance at the session.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
2. Nothing in this final decision shall be construed to comment upon the propriety of the purpose of the executive session described in paragraph 3 of the findings, above.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 24, 1991.
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 90-350 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:
Angelo J. DeLeon and Fairfield Police Union, I.B.P.O., Local 530
c/o Robert J. Murray, Jr., Esq.
65 Seaside Avenue
Guilford, CT 06437
Fairfield Board of Police Commissioners
c/o Donal C. Collimore, Esq.
1238 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06430
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission