FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Jeanette Kildea and Daniel Kildea,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 90-475

 

Canterbury Planning and Zoning Commission,

 

Respondent September 11, 1991

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 1, 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 and hand-delivered to this Commission on December 7, 1990, the complainants alleged that the respondent discussed more than pending litigation in the executive session held at its November 8, 1990 (hereinafter "November meeting"), and the respondent failed to provide the complainants with access to, or a copy of the audiotape of the November meeting.

 

3. At the hearing on this matter, the complainants requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondent.

 

4. It is found that at the November meeting an executive session was called and convened for the stated purpose of discussing "the Kildea litigation."

 

5. It is found that at the time of the November meeting the complainants had an application for a special exception for power equipment sales and repair on their property (hereinafter "Kildea application") pending before the respondent.

 

Docket #FIC 90-475 Page 2

 

6. It is found that while there is an interrelationship between the Kildea application and the Kildea litigation, the discussion held in executive session was limited to a discussion of the pending litigation.

 

7. It is found that statements made by at least one of the respondent commission members created the confusion about what had been discussed in the executive session.

 

8. It is found that an audiotape was made of the November meeting.

 

9. It is found that by letter dated and hand-delivered Friday, December 7, 1990, the complainants requested copies of the audiotapes of the respondent's November meeting and January 5, 1987 public hearing (hereinafter "January hearing") on an application of Sam Wibberley for a special exception permit.

 

10. It is found that the audiotapes are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

11. It is found that complainant Daniel Kildea was denied an opportunity to listen to the audiotapes of the November meeting and January hearing.

 

12. The respondent argues that complainant Daniel Kildea, was not intentionally denied access to the audiotapes, and that a failure of communication caused the delay.

 

13. It is found that the refusal of the respondent to allow the complainant Daniel Kildea to listen to the tapes resulted from the respondent's belief that it was more important to get the tapes copied.

 

14. It is found that the complainants were provided with copies of the requested tapes on Wednesday, December 12, 1990.

 

15. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-19(a), G.S., when it failed to allow complainant Daniel Kildea an opportunity to listen to the audiotapes promptly upon request.

 

Docket #FIC 90-475 Page 3

 

16. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty as requested by the complainants.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall henceforth comply with the disclosure provisions of 1-15 and 1-19, G.S.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 11, 1991.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC90-475 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:

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission