FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Angelo J. DeLeon and Fairfield Police Union, IBPO Local 530,
against Docket #FIC 92-272
Fairfield Board of Police Commissioners,
Respondent April 14, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 26, 1993, 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 dated August 24, 1992 and filed August 25, 1992, the complainants appealed to the Commission and alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act during the course of its August 12, 1992 meeting.
3. More specifically, the complainants alleged that the respondent convened an executive session and discussed the departmental transfers of seven police detectives as well as the suspension of another officer without notifying any of the subjects that they were going to be discussed in executive session.
4. At the hearing on this matter, the complainants requested that the Commission consider the imposition of civil penalties against the respondent.
5. It is found that the respondent held a meeting on August 12, 1992 during which it convened in executive session for the stated purpose of discussing personnel matters.
Docket #FIC 92-272 Page 2
6. Section 1-18a(e)(1), G.S., permits a public agency to convene an executive session for:
"discussion concerning the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that such individual may require that discussion be held at an open meeting."
7. It is found that during the subject executive session, the Fairfield Police Chief recommended the reassignment of seven police detectives. The police chief also reported on a May 1992 incident involving Officer Dalling and his August 1992 arrest stemming from that incident.
8. The respondent maintains that with regard to the seven reassigned detectives, the police chief has the authority to make such determinations independent of the respondent and that the police chief was merely reporting his decisions to the respondent.
9. It is found, however, that following the executive session described in paragraph 5, above, the respondent voted to reorganize the investigative division of the police department, which involved the reassignment of seven police detectives.
10. It is found that the reassignments of the seven detectives described in paragraph 9, above, were not disciplinary measures.
11. It is concluded that the police chief's report to the respondent concerning the reassignment of the seven police detectives was an improper purpose for an executive session and it is therefore concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S., when it convened in executive session to receive the police chief's report.
12. It is found that following the executive session, the respondent also voted to suspend Officer Dalling, with pay, pending the outcome of a police department's internal investigation.
13. It is found that Officer Dalling was not notified that his possible suspension would be discussed in executive session during the August 12, 1992 executive session.
14. It is found that at the request of a member of the respondent and following notification from the Commission of this complaint, the reassignment of the seven detectives and the suspension of Officer Dalling were again considered and voted
Docket #FIC 92-272 Page 3
upon by the respondent following an executive session on October 14, 1992.
15. It is found that the respondent notified Officer Dalling and each of the seven detectives that each of them might be a subject of the October 14, 1992 executive session and that none of the individuals objected to the executive session.
16. It is found that following an executive session at the October 14, 1992 meeting, the respondent again voted to suspend Officer Dalling with pay and also voted to reassign the seven detectives, with some modifications from the August reassignments.
17. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-18a(e)(1), G.S., by failing to notify Officer Dalling that his possible suspension would be discussed in executive session during the August 12, 1992 meeting and by failing to provide him an opportunity to request a public session.
18. It is further concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S., by failing to state in the minutes of the August 12, 1992 meeting the reasons for the executive session in a manner which clearly communicated such purposes to the public.
19. Under the facts of this case, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of civil penalties.
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 requirements of 1-18a(e) and 1-21(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 14, 1993.
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 92-272 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:
ANGELO J. DeLEON AND FAIRFIELD POLICE UNION, IBPO LOCAL 530
c/o Atty. William F. Bushy
900 Madison Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06606
FAIRFIELD BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS
c/o Atty Donal C. Collimore
1238 Post Road
P.O. Box 278
Fairfield, CT 06430
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission