FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
John J. Cassidy,
against Docket #FIC 95-10
Plainville Town Council and Plainville Town Manager,
Respondents October 25, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 15, 1995, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By leter of complaint filed January 12, 1995, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents conducted improper meetings on December 16, 1994 and January 3, 1995.
3. It is found that two vacancies existed in the respondent town council in December of 1994.
4. It is found that the complainant and another individual submitted their names to the chairman of the town council as candidates to fill those vacancies.
5. It is found that the Republican and Democratic town committees also each submitted the name of an individual nominated by the respective party's leadership to fill the vacancies.
6. It is found that the respondent town manager, at the direction of the chairman of the respondent town council, met on December 16, 1994 with the two individuals nominated by the town committees, to familiarize them with the issues then before the town council.
7. It is also found that the town manager provided those two party-nominated individuals with certain informational materials, at no charge.
Docket #FIC 95-10 Page 2
8. It is found that neither the complainant nor the other individual who sought to fill a vacancy without party nomination were invited to the December 16, 1994 meeting, or were provided with free informational materials.
9. The complainant maintains that he should have been treated equally with the party-nominated candidates, and that the December 16, 1994 meeting should have been open to him.
10. Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that the meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions, shall be open to the public.
11. Section 1-18a(b), G.S., defines "meeting" to mean:
any hearing or other proceeding of a public agency, 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.
12. It is found that the December 16, 1994 meeting of the town manager with the party-nominated candidates was not a hearing or other proceeding, or a convening or assembly of a quorum of a multimember public agency, or a communication by or to a quorum of a multimember public agency.
13. It is therefore concluded that the December 16, 1994 meeting was not a "meeting" of a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(b), G.S.
14. It is found that the respondent town manager, at the direction of the chairman of the respondent town council, filed on December 29, 1994 a notice of a special meeting of the town council to be held on January 3, 1995.
15. The complainant maintains that the January 3, 1995 meeting was improper because only the town council, and not the town manager, can call a meeting of the town council; because the January 3, 1995 meeting was not really a special meeting, but simply a regular meeting held on a rescheduled day; and because the respondents scheduled the meeting for a day when they knew he would be out of town, thereby excluding him from the meeting at which the vacancies to the town council would be filled.
16. At the request of the complainant, the Commission takes administrative notice of sections 1 through 4 of chapter IV of the Plainville town charter (qualifications, appointment,
Docket #FIC 95-10 Page 3
tenure, compensation, duties, and powers of the town manager); sections 1 through 7 of chapter III (powers, composition, compensation, organization, procedure, other officers, and introduction of ordinances and resolutions of the town council); section 5 of chapter II (vacancies); and sections 1 through 9 of chapter X (transition and miscellaneous provisions).
16. It is concluded, however, that the complainant has not alleged any violations of the Freedom of Information Act with respect to the January 3, 1995 meeting.
17. The Commission recognizes the complainant's frustration at being excluded from the town council vacancy, and at not being extended the courtesies afforded to the party-nominated candidates, but concludes that his exclusion was not related to any demonstrated violations of the Freedom of Information Act.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 25, 1995.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 95-10 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:
John J. Cassidy
7 Florence Lane
Plainville, CT 06062
Plainville Town Council and Plainville Town Manager
c/o Robert A. Michalik, Esq.
Eisenberg, Anderson, Michalik & Lynch
136 West Main Street
P.O. Box 2950
New Britain, CT 06050-2950
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission