FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Richard J. Branche,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 91-266

 

Board of Directors, Center Groton Fire District and Center Groton Fire District,

 

Respondents May 13, 1992

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 9, 1992, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. This case was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 91-261 and Docket #FIC 91-287.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter of complaint filed August 29, 1991 and postmarked August 28, 1991, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that:

 

a. the minutes of the respondent Board's July 17, 1991 regular meeting do not describe when an executive session was convened;

 

b. the minutes of the July 17 meeting show that the respondent Board voted in executive, not public, session;

 

c. the respondent Board failed to reconvene in public session at the July 17 meeting; and

 

d. the respondents failed to make available a record of the votes taken at the July 17 meeting within 48 hours of the meeting.

 

3. The complainant also alleged:

 

a. the respondent Board's July 31, 1991 meeting was not noticed with the Groton Town Clerk;

 

Docket #FIC 91-266 Page 2

 

b. no agenda was made available for the July 31, 1991 meeting; and

 

c. no minutes of the July 31 meeting were filed with the Groton Town Clerk.

 

4. It is found that the respondent Board held a regular meeting on July 17, 1991.

 

5. With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2.a, above, it is concluded that nothing in the Freedom of Information Act requires an agency to record in its minutes the time that an executive session is convened.

 

6. With respect to the allegations described in paragraphs 2.b and 2.d, above, it is concluded that these issues were determined in Docket #FIC 91-261.

 

7. With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2.c, above, it is found that the complainant was present at the July 17 meeting and knew then that the respondent Board failed to reconvene in public session.

 

8. It is therefore concluded that, pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S., the Commission lacks jurisdiction to decide the issue raised in paragraph 3.c., above, since the complainant failed to file his complaint within 30 days of the alleged violation.

 

9. With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 3.a., above, the respondents stipulated at the hearing that they failed to file a notice of the July 31 meeting with the Groton Town Clerk.

 

10. However, with respect to the allegations described in paragraphs 3.a, 3.b and 3.c, above, it is found that the respondents scheduled but did not convene a special meeting on July 31, 1991.

 

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 May 13, 1992.

 

 

Karen J.Haggett

Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 91-266 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:

MR. RICHARD J. BRANCHE

MR. TODD J. BRANCHE

390 Hazelnut Road

Groton, CT 06340

 

ELLEN BROWN NICHOLAS, ESQ.

GIANACOPLOS, JOHNSON, NICHOLAS & GRATER

100 Fort Hill Road

Groton, CT 06340

 

 

Karen J.Haggett

Clerk of the Commission