FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Maureen L. Sheridan,
against Docket #FIC 91-124
Trumbull Board of Finance,
Respondent November 13, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 12, 1991, at which time the complainant 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 dated May 20, 1991, and filed with the Commission on May 23, 1991, the complainant alleged that at the respondent's May 9, 1991 regular meeting (hereinafter "May meeting"), the respondent improperly discussed a personnel matter concerning the complainant that was not on its agenda for the May meeting. The complainant alleged that the personnel matter was discussed without notifying her, without amending the agenda and without including the discussion in the minutes for the May meeting.
3. Specifically, the complainant alleged that the respondent publicly held a discussion about the fire marshal's budget and her, as an employee of the fire marshal, without first notifying her or giving her an opportunity to request that the discussion be held in executive session.
4. At the hearing on the contested case the respondent made a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging that the complainant raises an issue outside of the scope of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act when she claims that she has the right to force the respondent to convene an executive session.
Docket #FIC 91-124 Page 2
5. The Commission declines to grant the respondent's motion to dismiss because the substance of the complaint raises a factual question about an issue that is well within the Commission's jurisdiction, namely, whether or not the respondent conducted its May meeting in accordance with the provisions of §1-21(a), G.S.
6. It is found that the respondent held a May meeting.
7. It is found that at each of the respondent's regular meetings there are three reports that are always discussed after the noticed business for a particular meeting is concluded. The three reports are: the internal auditor's report, the treasurer's report and the director of finance's report (hereinafter "reports").
8. It is found that at the May meeting there was a brief statement concerning the deficit in the fire marshal's budget given under the "Internal Auditor's Report" agenda item.
9. It is found that the reference to the fire marshal's budget was followed by a recommendation that any discussion of that budget be postponed until the next regularly scheduled meeting.
10. It is found that the complainant's position as the fire marshal's secretary was not discussed at the May meeting.
11. The respondent concedes that the minutes of its regularly scheduled meetings typically do not reflect what occurred during the presentation of the reports unless some substantive information was actually given.
12. It is concluded that the minutes of the respondent's meetings must accurately reflect all business that is transacted, discussed or otherwise presented at any meeting of the respondent agency, including some notation of the information shared in the reports, in accordance with the provisions of §1-21, G.S.
Docket #FIC 91-124 Page 3
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 prepare its minutes as directed in paragraph 12 of the findings, above.
2. The Commission notes that a public agency makes the threshold decision about whether or not it wishes to hold a discussion in an executive session. Once that determination is made, the agency must convene the executive session in accordance with the provisions of §§1-18a(e), 1-21 and 1-21g, G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 13, 1991.
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 91-124 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:
Maureen L. Sheridan
17 Brewster Place
Trumbull, CT 06611
Trumbull Board of Finance
c/o Floyd J. Dugas, Esq.
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.
75 Broad Street
Milford, CT 06460
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission