FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
against Docket #FIC 95-110
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 95-108, Pam Pickens 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 95-110 Page Two
4. It is found that on April 4, 1995, the complainant hand-delivered a written request for a copy of the minutes of the respondent board's March meeting ("March minutes").
5. It is found that by reply letter dated April 5, 1995, the respondent authority denied the complainant's request for the March minutes ("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 releasing minutes until they had been "reviewed, corrected and approved by the [board] as a body." The respondent authority further advised the complainant that the March minutes would not be available until the respondent board's next regularly scheduled meeting of April 24, 1995, if at that time "the [b]oard moves to approve [the] March [minutes]."
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 records 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 March minutes were not available for public inspection within seven days of the March meeting.
10. It is concluded that the respondents failed to record and file the minutes of the March meeting in accordance with the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S.
11. It is also 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:
Docket #FIC 95-110 Page Three
1. Forthwith, the respondent authority shall provide the complainant with a copy of the March minutes, free of charge.
2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements for filing, and permiting public inspection and copying of the 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 if "approved" minutes 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 95-110 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:
40 Henry Street, #29
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