FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Sydney M. Libby,
against Docket #FIC 93-181
Middletown Board of Education,
Respondent November 10, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 28, 1993, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. This case was consolidated for the purposes of hearing with Docket #FIC 93-165, Sidney M. Libby vs. Middletown Board of Education.
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 June 24, 1993, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent met on June 15, 1993 without proper prior notice, convened in executive session improperly for negotiations, and failed to give notice to an individual that he would be evaluated in executive session.
3. It is found that the respondent held a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 15, 1993.
4. It is found that the meeting was held pursuant to a properly filed schedule of regular meetings.
5. It is found that the agenda for the meeting was available at the respondent's offices on the Friday before the meeting.
6. It is found that item "H" of that agenda provides:
7. It is found that the respondent convened in executive session for the stated purpose of discussing an evaluation and negotiations.
Docket #FIC 93-181 Page 2
8. It is found that the respondent actually convened in executive session to discuss the superintendent's job evaluation, and negotiations with respect to DATTCO Bus Company.
9. It is found that the superintendent had prior notice that he would be evaluated in executive session.
10. It is also found that, following the executive session, the respondent voted to extend the superintendent's contract for three years.
11. It is found that the agenda did not adequately notify the public that the respondent would evaluate the superintendent's performance and discuss whether to extend his contract.
12. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-21(a), G.S., by failing to file an agenda that adequately described the business to be transacted at the meeting concerning the superintendent.
13. It is also found that, following the executive session, the respondent also voted to accept the negotiated proposal submitted by DATTCO Bus Company extending the contract through the 1997-98 school year without the additional charge for the video system.
14. It is found that the agenda did not adequately notify the public that the respondent would discuss the negotiated proposal submitted by DATTCO and discuss whether to extend DATTCO's contract.
15. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-21(a), G.S., by failing to file an agenda that adequately described the business to be transacted at the meeting concerning DATTCO.
16. The Commission notes that 1-21(a), G.S., permits an agency to add to the agenda of its regular meetings by a two-thirds vote, but no such vote was taken at the respondent's June 15 regular meeting.
17. The respondent maintains that the executive session to discuss the DATTCO negotiations was permissible pursuant to 1-18a(e)(5) and 1-19(b)(1), G.S., as discussion concerning the preliminary draft of a contract.
18. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that a preliminary draft within the meaning of 1-19(b)(1), G.S., was the subject of discussion.
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19. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-21(a), G.S., by convening an executive session to discuss contract negotiations with a service vendor, a purpose not permitted by 1-18a(e), G.S.
20. At the hearing, the complainant maintained that individuals were present at the executive session who were not necessary to provide opinion or testimony pertinent to the matters before the respondent.
21. Because the issue of improper attendance at the June 15 executive session was not raised in the complainant's appeal to the Commission, the Commission in its discretion declines to make any determination on that issue.
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 1-21(a) and 1-18a(e), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 10, 1993.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 93-181 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:
Sydney M. Libby
c/o Todd Fernow, Esq.
UConn Legal Clinic
65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Middletown Board of Education
c/o Timothy P. Lynch, Esq.
Deputy City Attorney
P.O. Box 1300
Middletown, CT 06457
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission