FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Dick Conrad and New Haven Register,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 91-133

 

West Haven City Council,

 

Respondent October 23, 1991

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 5, 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 filed by telefax on May 30, 1991, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act at its April 30, 1991 meeting when a Republican council member joined a caucus of Democratic council members.

 

3. It is found that the respondent convened a budget meeting at 7:00 p.m. on April 30, 1991.

 

4. It is found that the respondent recessed its meeting at 7:15 p.m. so that the Democratic majority could convene a caucus.

 

5. It is found that the majority caucus lasted from approximately 7:15 to 11:15 p.m., at which time the meeting reconvened for approximately 45 minutes.

 

6. It is found that the majority caucus was not open to the public.

 

7. It is found that the chairman of the respondent, who is a member of the minority party, stepped into the room in which the majority party was caucusing for about two minutes at approximately 10:30 p.m. to determine how much longer the caucus would last and when the meeting could be reconvened.

 

8. It is found that matters within the respondent's supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power were not discussed or acted upon while the chairman was present.

 

Docket #FIC 91-133 Page 2

 

9. It is concluded that no meeting of the respondent occurred when the chairman intervened in the majority caucus.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is dismissed.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 23, 1991.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 91-133 Page 3

 

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:

Dick Conrad and New Haven Register

c/o Fred Laberge

New Haven Register

40 Sargent Drive

New Haven, CT 06511

 

West Haven City Council

c/o Henry C. Szadkowski

Assistant Corporation Counsel

355 Main Street

West Haven, CT 06516

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission