FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Eric P. Sousa,
against Docket #FIC 94-164
Anita Carreiro, Ronald Gallant, Timothy Cousens, Nelson
DeFreitas, Annette Woodfield and Naugatuck Board
of Police Commissioners,
Respondents April 18, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 7, 1995, at which time the complainant and counsel for the respondent appeared. The complainant presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. Counsel for the respondent presented argument on the complaint.
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 dated May 18, 1994 and filed with the Commission on May 24, 1994, and supplemented by facsimile letter filed with the Commission on May 27, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by considering business not included in their April 28, 1994 special meeting notice.
3. Specifically, the complainant alleges in his complaint to the Commision that the respondents at their April 28, 1994 special meeting, demoted the complainant from sergeant to patrolman and promoted another police officer, without prior notice to the public that such business would be considered at the April 28, 1994 special meeting. The complainant requests a null and void remedy with respect to the respondents votes to demote himself and promote another officer.
4. It is found that the respondents held a special meeting on April 28, 1994 for which they issued a notice specifying the following as subjects to be dealt with:
Docket #FIC 94-164 Page 2
6:30 P.M. Results of Sergeants Testing.
6:45 P.M. Officer Henry Desrosiers part
7:00 P.M. Workshop for the Reorganization
of the Police Department.
5. With respect to the notice requirements for special meetings, 1-21(a), G.S., states that:
the notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted. No other business shall be considered at such meetings by such public agency. [Emphasis added].
6. It is found that at the April 28, 1994 special meeting, the respondents considered and voted to demote the complainant from sergeant to patrolman and to promote another officer to the rank of sergeant.
7. It is found that the demotion and promotion described in paragraph 6, above, was not a topic noticed as an item of business on the April 28, 1994 special meeting notice.
8. It is therefore concluded that the respondents violated 1-21, G.S., when they considered business not previously noticed in their April 28, 1994 special meeting notice.
9. Section 1-21i(b), G.S., allows this Commission to order such relief as it believes appropriate to rectify the denial of any right under the FOI Act.
10. In addition, 1-21i(b), G.S., empowers this Commission to declare null and void any or all actions taken at any meeting at which a person was denied the right to attend.
11. It is found that the complainant was present at the the April 24, 1994 special meeting and although his right to advance notice of the business to be conducted at the meeting was compromised, his right to attend such meeting was not.
12. Consequently, the Commission in its discretion declines to issue a null and void remedy in this matter.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondents shall immediately take the appropriate steps to issue a corrected notice of its April 24, 1994 special meeting notice so as to accurately reflect the business conducted at such meeting.
Docket #FIC 94-164 Page 3
2. The respondents shall immediately following the mailing of the notice of the final decision in this matter have the town/borough clerk post a copy of this decision in a prominent public location within the town/borough clerk's office for a period of at least six (6) months.
3. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the notice requirements of 1-21, G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of April 18, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-164
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:
ERIC P. SOUSA
6 Homestead Avenue
Naugatuck, CT 06770
ANITA CARREIRO, RONALD GALLANT, TIMOTHY COUSENS, NELSON DeFREITAS, ANNETTE WOODFIELD AND NAUGATUCK BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS
c/o Richard M. Marano, Esq.
P.O. Box 765
Waterbury, CT 06720-0765
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission