FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Angelo M. Santella and James R. Cunningham, Commissioners, Third Taxing District of the City of Norwalk
against Docket #FIC 91-365
Blaise Heid, Chairman, Third Taxing District Electors' Committee of the City of Norwalk and Third Taxing District of the City of Norwalk
Respondents June 24, 1992
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 1, 1992, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The matter was consolidated for hearing with contested cases docket #FIC 91-384, #FIC 92-33 and #FIC 92-86.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. By letter dated November 19, 1991 and filed with the Commission on November 25, 1991, the complainants alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act with respect to the notice and conduct of certain meetings and in failing to provide copies of certain public records.
2. It is found that the Third Taxing District of the City of Norwalk is a body politic and corporate and constitutes a political subdivision of the state.
3. It is also found that the representative legislative body for the Third Taxing District is the Board of District Commissioners, which consists of three elected commissioners.
4. It is also found that the complainants are two of the three members the Board of District Commissioners and that they have brought this complaint in their official capacities.
Docket #FIC 91-365 Page 2
5. It is also found that the electors of the Third Taxing District, as electors, have certain rights with respect to some of the affairs of the district, which rights are set forth in the district's charter, which, in turn, provides for the convening of Annual and Special District Meetings of Electors to exercise the rights of the electors.
6. It is found that the respondent Heid was elected chairman of the District Meetings of Electors at issue here and that his election as chairman in each case was limited in term to the specific meeting at which the election occurred.
7. It is further found that the respondent Heid was also elected and ratified as a member of an Electors' Committee at several District Meetings of Electors, but that this committee and Mr. Heid's participation therein are not subjects of this complaint.
8. Although the complainants did not name any District Meetings of Electors as respondents in this matter, they specifically contend that the Annual and Special District Meetings of Electors at issue here are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S., and therefore such meetings, and the records of such meetings, are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
9. Subsection (a) of 1-18a, G.S. provides:
"Public agency" or "agency" means any executive, administrative or legislative office of the state or any political subdivision of the state and any state or town agency, any department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official of the state or of any city, town, borough, municipal corporation, school district, regional district or other district or other political subdivision of the state, including any committee of any such office, subdivision, agency, department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official, and also includes any judicial office, official or body or committee thereof but only in respect to its or their administrative functions.
10. It is concluded that the District Meetings of Electors at issue here are meetings of the body politic and corporate of the Third Taxing District - that is, meetings of the district's electors themselves and not of their representatives or representative agencies.
Docket #FIC 91-365 Page 3
11. Consequently, it is concluded that the District Meetings of Electors at issue here are not meetings of a public agency of a political subdivision of the state, as the term "public agency" is defined in 1-18a(a), G.S.
12. It is therefore concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over this complaint because the complainants failed to name the subject District Meetings of Electors of the Third Taxing District as respondents and because, nevertheless, such meetings are not public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 24, 1992.
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 91-365 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:
Jonathan M. Levine, Esq.
Silver, Golub & Teitell
184 Atlantic Street
O. O. Box 389
Stamford, CT 06904
Ridgely W. Brown, Esq.
Brown & Brown
10 Corbin Drive
P.O. Box 1205
Darien, CT 06820-1205
Clerk of the Commission