FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Thomas J. Canino,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 91-234

 

Stamford Board of Ethics,

 

Respondent February 19, 1992

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 23, 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 of complaint filed with the Commission on August 8, 1991, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent held an improperly noticed meeting on July 10, 1991, and that the respondent failed to make available a record of the vote taken at that meeting within forty-eight hours of the meeting. The complainant requested that the respondent's vote at that meeting to continue its investigation of the complainant be declared null and void.

 

3. It is found that the respondent held a meeting on July 10, 1991 for the purpose of continuing its investigation into complaints filed by Mayor Thom Serrani and Joseph Tarzia.

 

4. It is found that the complainant was one of approximately half a dozen subjects of Serrani's complaint.

 

5. It is found that the notice of the July 10, 1991 meeting stated that the meeting was a resumption of the respondent's previously recessed meeting, and was "with respect to the complaints filed by Mayor Serrani and Mr. Tarzia."

 

6. It is found that the complainant had testified at the end of the respondent's previous meeting at the end of May, 1991, and believed that the respondent had concluded its investigation with respect to him.

 

7. It is also found that the complainant gave notice to the Mayor of his resignation from his position as purchasing agent for the city by letter dated June 14, 1991.

 

Docket #FIC 91-234 Page 2

 

8. It is found that the complainant's attorney attended the July 10, 1991 meeting, but the complainant did not.

 

9. It is found that the complainant's attorney had advised the complainant that, because of the complainant's resignation, the respondent could take no further action in its investigation of the complainant without an affirmative vote to do so, pursuant to Section 19-15 of the Stamford Code of Ethics.

 

10. It is found that the respondent voted to continue its investigation of the complainant at the July 10, 1991 meeting.

 

11. The complainant maintains that the respondent improperly voted to continue its investigation, because the notice of the July 10 meeting did not specifically describe the possibility of such a vote.

 

12. It is concluded, however, that the notice of the July 10 meeting reasonably apprised the public and the complainant of the business to be transacted at the July 10 meeting.

 

13. The complainant also maintains that the notice of the July 10 meeting was defective in that it did not specify that the meeting was a special meeting within the meaning of 1-21, G.S., but rather described the meeting as a resumption of a previously recessed meeting.

 

14. It is found, however, that there is nothing misleading about the nature of the meeting described in the notice of the meeting.

 

15. It is also concluded that nothing in 1-21(a), G.S., requires that a notice of a special meeting describe the meeting as a special meeting.

 

16. With respect to the complainant's allegation concerning the record of the respondent's vote at the July 10 meeting, it is found that the respondent did not make available for public inspection the record of its vote concerning its continuation of its investigation of the complainant until it filed the minutes of the July 10 meeting on July 17, 1991.

 

17. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-21(a), G.S., by failing to make available for public inspection within forty-eight hours of the meeting the record of its vote at that meeting.

 

18. The Commission in its discretion declines to declare null and void the vote taken by the respondent.

 

Docket #FIC 91-234 Page 3

 

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

 

1. Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the record of vote requirements contained in 1-21(a), G.S.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of February 19, 1992.

 

 

Debra L. Rembowski

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 91-234 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:

Thomas J. Canino

c/o Attorney John D. Hertz

Curtis, Brinckerhoff & Barrett

666 Summer Street

Stamford, CT 06901-1486

 

Stamford Board of Ethics

c/o Attorney Richard A.V. King

Marsh, Day & Calhoun

955 Main Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

Debra L. Rembowski

Acting Clerk of the Commission