FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
John E. Alexander,
against Docket #FIC 94-357
Louis Esposito, Vincent Giannotti and Allingtown
Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners,
Respondents June 14, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 5, 1995, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. This matter was consolidated for hearing with contested case docket #FIC 94-343.
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 received by this Commission on October 11, 1994 the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the provisions of the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by conducting an improper executive session on September 6, 1994.
3. Specifically, the complainant alleges that the respondents improperly discussed the topic of "financing radio system" in closed session.
4. It is found that the letter of complaint in this matter was postmarked October 5, 1994.
5. Section 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., states in pertinent part:
Any person denied ... any ... right conferred by [the FOI Act] may appeal therefrom to the freedom of information commission filing a notice of appeal with said commission. A notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days after such denial ... For purposes of this subsection, such notice of appeal shall be deemed to be filed on the date it is received by said commission or on the date it is postmarked, if received more than thirty days after the date of the denial from which such appeal is taken.
Docket #FIC 94-357 Page 2
6. It is concluded that the complaint, having a postmark of October 5, 1995, was timely filed, and therefore this Commission has jurisdiction to address the allegations described in paragraph 3, above.
7. It is found that on September 6, 1994, the respondents entered an executive session to discuss the financing of a radio system.
8. The respondents claim that pursuant to 1-18a(e), G.S., they were entitled to enter closed session because they sought the best financing rate from three banks they considered borrowing from.
9. It is found that the respondents' executive session discussion did not involve the selection of a site or the lease, sale or purchase of real estate pursuant to 1-18a(e)(4), G.S.
10. It is also found that the executive session discussion would not result in the disclosure of public records or the information contained herein described in subsection (b) of section 1-19, as provided in 1-18a(e)(5), G.S.
11. It is concluded that 1-18a(e), G.S., does not provide for an executive session of the type engaged in under the facts of this case.
12. It is concluded that the respondents' failure to permit public access to the discussion at issue is a violation of 1-21(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 respondent shall henceforth strictly comply with the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S., taking special attention to comply with all executive session provisions of the FOI Act including 1-18a(e) and 1-21g(a) and (b), G.S.
2. As a civil penalty has been issued in companion contested case docket #FIC 94-343 concerning the same September 6, 1994 executive session, no further financial penalty shall be issued herein.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 14, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-357 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:
JOHN E. ALEXANDER
6 Edna Street
West Haven, CT 06516-2405
LOUIS ESPOSITO, VINCENT GIANNOTTI AND ALLINGTOWN FIRE DISTRICT BOARD OF FIRE COMMISSIONERS
c/o Louis Smith Votto, Esq.
415 Main Street
P.O. Box 411
West Haven, CT 06516
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission