Freedom of Information Commission
of the State of Connecticut

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

John A. DeLutio,  

Complainant

 

against

Docket #FIC 1996-231

East Ridge School Building Committee,Town of Ridgefield,  

Respondent

March 12, 1997

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 21, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letter dated June 11, 1996, postmarked June 13, 1996, and filed with the Commission on June 17, 1996, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by filing its record of votes and minutes for the period of April 24, 1996 through May 21, 1996 in an untimely manner. He also alleged that the votes of the respondent’s members were improperly recorded.

3. Section 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., provides in pertinent part:

A notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days…(S)uch 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.

4. It is found that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over that portion of the complaint which alleges violations prior to May 13, 1996 of the requirements to file in a timely manner the record of votes and the minutes of meetings.

5. It is also found that the complainant failed to prove that minutes were not filed in a timely manner with respect to meetings of the respondent held on May 16, 1996 or May 21, 1996.

6..Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in pertinent part:

The votes of each member of any … public 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….

7. The respondent claims that in the cases where the respondent voted unanimously, it is indeed possible to know which members so voted by consulting those portions of the minutes that identify those agency members present at the meeting at issue.

8. It is found that there was no violation of the record of votes provision of 1-21(a), G.S., with respect to the respondent’s May 16, 1996 meeting. It is found, however, that the respondent’s minutes for the meeting of May 21, 1996, fail to specify the votes of members taken at that meeting, which votes were not unanimous.

9. It is therefore concluded that with respect to its minutes of May 21, 1996, the respondent failed to record the record of votes of its members as required pursuant to 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 forthwith amend the minutes of its May 21, 1996 meeting to accurately reflect the votes of its members taken at that meeting.

2. Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 12, 1997.

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

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 A. DeLutio
60 Walnut Grove Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877

East Ridge School Building Committee, Town of Ridgefield
c/o J. Allen Kerr, Jr., Esq.
Office of the Town Attorney
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-231/FD/eal/03201997