FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
against Docket #FIC 95-108
Windsor Housing Authority and the Board of Commissioners
for the Housing Authority of the Town of Windsor,
Respondent February 14, 1996
The above-captioned matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 95-110, Barbara Pike v. Windsor Housing Authority ("authority") and the Board of Commissioners for the Housing Authority of the Town of Windsor ("board"). The contested cases were heard on October 25, 1995, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The case captions have been changed to accurately identify the respondents in these matters.
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. It is found that on October 11, 1994, the respondent board held a regular meeting ("October meeting"), at which a recommendation was made and unanimously passed that:
It shall be the Policy [sic] of the [authority], that no minutes will be released, as minutes of a[n] [authority] meeting, to any individual (other than a [board member]) or group until these minutes have been reviewed, corrected and approved by the [board] as a body. Failure to comply with this procedure will be considered a serious breach of [authority] policy ....
3. It is found that on March 27, 1995, the respondent board held a regular meeting ("March meeting"), at which votes were recorded and minutes were taken.
Docket #FIC 95-108 Page Two
4. It is found that on April 9, 1995, the complainant hand-delivered a written request for a copy of the record of votes from the respondent board's March meeting ("votes").
5. It is found that by reply letter dated April 9, 1995, the respondent authority denied the complainant's request for the votes ("April letter").
6. In its April letter the respondent authority cited the respondent board's October meeting, and the policy adopted at that meeting of not "issuing motions or votes separate from the minutes of the meeting" to which they refer. The respondent authority further advised the complainant that the votes would be unavailable until the respondent board's next regularly scheduled meeting of April 24, 1995, if at that time "the [b]oard moves to approve [the] minutes of the March meeting."
7. By letter of complaint dated and hand-delivered to the Commission on April 10, 1995, the complainant appealed the respondent authority's denial of her request.
8. Section 1-21(a), G.S., in relevant part states that:
The votes of each member of any ... public agency upon any issue before such agency shall be reduced to writing and made available for public inspection within forty-eight hours and shall also be recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken, which minutes shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer .... (Emphasis added.)
9. It is found that the votes were not available for public inspection within forty-eight hours of the March meeting.
10. It is concluded that the respondents violated 1-21(a), G.S., by: (a) failing to have the votes available for public inspection forty-eight hours after the March meeting, and (b) failing to provide the complainant with a copy of the votes upon request, as required by 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
11. Although the complainant made no express claim of a minutes violation with respect to the respondent board's March meeting, it is found that the minutes were not available for public inspection within seven days of the March meeting, as required by 1-21(a), G.S.
Docket #FIC 95-108 Page Three
12. It is therefore concluded that the respondent board's policy as set forth in paragraph 2 of the findings, above, and the respondent authority's implementation of that policy as described in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the findings, above, violate the provisions of 1-15, 1-19(a), and 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. Forthwith, the respondent authority shall provide the complainant with a copy of the votes, free of charge.
2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements for filing, and permiting public inspection and copying of the votes and minutes of its meetings, as set forth in 1-21(a), 1-19(a), and 1-15, G.S.
3. The Commission notes further that votes must be available within forty-eight hours of the meeting to which they refer. Additionally, if "approved" minutes have not been filed and are unavailable to the public within seven days of the date of the regular meeting to which they refer, "unapproved" or "draft" minutes should be available to the public, and clearly identified as such.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 14, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 95-108 Page Four
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:
286 Preston Street
Windsor, CT 06095
Windsor Housing Authority and the Board of Commissioners for the Housing Authority of the Town of Windsor
c/o W. Herbert Reckmeyer, Esq.
Arnold & Associates
80 Cedar Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission