FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Henry Kosinski and Richard H. Kosinski,
against Docket #FIC 94-413
New Britain Housing Board of Appeals,
Respondent October 11, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 29, 1995, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. This case was consolidated for hearing with docket #FIC 94-445, Henry Kosinski and Richard H. Kosinski against New Britain Housing Board of Appeals.
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 November 23, 1994, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent held a secret meeting on October 26, 1994, and that the respondent failed to make and file minutes of that meeting by November 17, 1994.
3. It is found that the respondent held a special meeting on October 26, 1994.
4. It is found that the notice of the respondent's October 26, 1994 meeting indicated that it would be held at 6:30 p.m. in room 308 of New Britain City Hall.
5. It is found that the 6:30 p.m. time specified in the notice of meeting was a mistake, and that meeting was to begin at 7:00.
6. It is found that the notice of the meeting included as an item of old business a matter concerning the complainant Henry Kosinski.
7. It is found that Henry Kosinski's property was subject to an investigation and enforcement action by the housing section of the New Britain building department.
Docket #FIC 94-413 Page 2
8. It is found that Henry Kosinski, who was represented by the complainant Richard Kosinski, was contesting the alleged violations.
9. It is found that the respondent, together with three staff housing inspectors, convened on October 26, 1994 at 6:30 p.m. in a room other than the one announced in the notice of meeting.
10. It is found that the respondent routinely meets a half hour before its scheduled meetings to conduct so-called "briefing sessions" at which the housing inspectors brief the members of the respondent concerning the status of building inspections.
11. It is found that the respondent discussed at the briefing session, among other things, Henry Kosinski's property, including how to proceed with enforcing the correction of the alleged building code violations.
12. It is found that the respondent then, at the end of its briefing session, moved and convened its noticed special meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the announced room.
13. It is found that the acting chairman of the respondent announced at the onset of the 7:00 p.m. meeting that the matter concerning Henry Kosinski's property would be referred to housing court for prosecution.
14. It is found that the minutes of the October 26, 1994 7:00 p.m. meeting were not filed until November 28, 1994.
15. Section 1-21(a), G.S., requires that minutes be filed within seven days of the meeting to which they refer.
16. It is concluded that the respondent violated section 1-21(a), G.S.
17. It is found that no minutes of the October 26, 1994 6:30 p.m. briefing session were ever filed.
18. Section 1-18a(b), G.S., defines "meeting" to mean:
any convening or assembly of a quorum of a multimember public agency, and any communication by or to a quorum of a multimember public agency, whether in person or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.
19. It is found that a quorum of the respondent attended the October 6:30 p.m. briefing session and were briefed by the staff housing inspectors.
Docket #FIC 94-413 Page 3
20. It is found that the respondent discussed matters at the 6:30 p.m. briefing meeting that were within their supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.
21. It is concluded that the 6:30 p.m. briefing session was a meeting within the meaning of section 1-18a(b), G.S.
22. Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that the minutes of meetings shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer; and that the notice of a special meeting shall specify the time and place of the meeting and the business to be transacted.
23. It is found that the respondent filed no minutes of the 6:30 p.m. briefing session.
24. It is found that the respondent filed no adequate notice of the 6:30 p.m. briefing session, since that session was convened in a room other than the one noticed, and the 6:30 time announced, although technically correct, was intended by the respondent, and understood by those who came to attend, to be 7:00 p.m.
25. The respondent maintains that no one was excluded from the 6:30 p.m. briefing session.
26. It is nonetheless concluded that the respondent violated section 1-21(a), G.S., by failing to give adequate notice of the 6:30 p.m. briefing session, and by failing to file minutes of that meeting.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent shall forthwith file minutes of the October 26, 1994 6:30 p.m. briefing session.
2. Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the notice and minutes requirements of section 1-21(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 11, 1995.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-413 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:
106 Farmington Avenue
New Britain, CT 06053
New Britain Housing Board of Appeals
c/o Daniel Healy, Esq.
Assistant City Attorney
City Hall - 27 West Main Street
New Britain, CT 06051
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission