FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Augustine M. Masiello,
against Docket #FIC 94-280
Data General Negotiating Committee of
the Woodstock Board of Selectmen,
Respondent April 26, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 7, 1995, at which time the complainant 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 of complaint dated August 11, 1994 and filed with the Commission on August 16, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by:
a. denying him access to an August 11, 1994 meeting both in his capacity as a private citizen as well as in his official capacity as a Selectman; and
b. convening the August 11, 1994 meeting without notice to the public.
3. It is found that the respondent held an executive session on August 11, 1994.
4. It is found that the respondent filed a notice of the August 11, 1994 executive session, referred to in paragraph 3, above with the town clerk on August 10, 1994, which notice indicated:
DATA GENERAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE
August 11, 1994
Conference Room #1
Docket #FIC 94-280 Page 2
The Data General Negotiating Committee will meet in Executive Session for the purpose of establishing negotiation strategy regarding roof problems at Building #6 at the Middle School Building Site.
COURTESY NOTICE ONLY
MEETING NOT SUBJECT TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
5. Section 1-18a(e)(2), G.S., allows an agency to discuss strategy and negotiations with respect to pending litigation to which the public agency or a member is a party until such litigation has been adjudicated or otherwise settled.
6. Section 1-18a(h)(3), G.S., defines "pending litigation" to mean "the agency's consideration of action to enforce or implement legal relief or a legal right."
7. It is found that the August 11, 1994 executive session was convened for the purpose of considering what legal rights, if any, the Town of Woodstock had against Data General Inc. with respect to certain roof problems being experienced at the Middle School Building site.
8. It is concluded that the discussion held in executive session was not improper beacuse it fell within the purview of 1-18a(e)(2) and 1-18a(h)(3), G.S.
9. Section 1-21g(a), G.S., provides that an executive session shall be limited to members of the agency and persons invited by the agency to present testimony or opinion.
10. With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2a., above, it is found that the complainant is not a member of the respondent nor was he invited to attend the executive session to present testimony or opinion by the respondent.
11. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate the complainant's rights by not allowing him to attend the August 11, 1994 executive session.
12. With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2b., above, it is found that the respondent filed a notice of the August 11 executive session with the town clerk on August 10, 1994, which notice indicated the purpose of the executive session.
13. While it is found that the information contained in the last two lines of the notice which indicates that the August
Docket #FIC 94-280 Page 3
11, 1994 meeting was not subject to the FOI Act is incorrect, nonetheless, it is found that the respondent gave notice of the meeting and filed such notice with the town clerk's office as required under the FOI Act.
14. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate the notice requirements of the FOI Act.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record in the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
2. Although not specifically raised at the hearing on this matter, the Commission notes that the respondent's notice of the August 11, 1994 meeting was filed with the town clerk, as indicated by the date stamp on the meeting notice, less than 24 hours in advance of the meeting as required under 1-21g, G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 26, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-280 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:
AUGUSTINE M. MASIELLO
79 Brickyard Road
Woodstock, CT 06281
DATA GENERAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE OF THE WOODSTOCK BOARD OF SELECTMEN
c/o Kent Sinclair, Esq.
Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn
CityPlace - 35th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission