FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-432
June 11, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by Daniel V. Presnick, Complainant
against
Brian Stone, Town Meeting Moderator, Town of Orange; and Town of Orange, Respondents

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 18, 1997, at which time the complainant and 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. By letter of complaint dated and filed with the Commission on August 29, 1996, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated 1-21, G.S., by having the complainant removed from an August 19, 1996 town meeting.

2. The respondents moved to dismiss the complainant’s appeal claiming that (1) the Commission has no jurisdiction over a town meeting or the actions of the respondent moderator; and (2) the actions taken by the moderator were in accordance with the provisions of 7-8, G.S.

3. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S., in that they are a political subdivision of the state and a legislative officer of a political subdivision of the state.

4. Section 1-21h, G.S., in relevant part provides, that:

[i]n the event that any meeting of a public agency is interrupted by any person or group of persons so as to render the orderly conduct of such meeting unfeasible and order cannot be restored by the removal of individuals who are willfully interrupting the meetings, the members of the agency conducting the meeting may order the meeting room cleared and continue in session….

5. Section 1-18a(b), G.S., in relevant part defines a meeting as:

… any hearing or other proceeding of a public agency … to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

6. It is found that for the purposes of this case, the August 19, 1996 town meeting was a proceeding of the respondent town within the meaning of 1-18a(b), G.S.

7. It is therefore concluded that the Commission has jurisdiction pursuant to 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., to hear this appeal and accordingly the respondents’ motion to dismiss is denied.

8. It is also found that the complainant willfully interrupted the meeting in question, and that his removal from the meeting by the respondent moderator was permissible under 1-21h, G.S.

9. It is therefore concluded under the facts of this case, that the moderator did not violate 1-21(a), G.S., by having the complainant removed from the meeting in question.

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 11, 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:
Daniel V. Presnick
760 Riverside Drive
Orange, CT 06477-1726

Brian Stone, Town Meeting Moderator, Town of Orange; and Town of Orange
c/o Francis A. Teodosio, Esq.
Winnick, Vine, Welch & Teodosio, LLC
375 Bridgeport Avenue
PO Drawer 668
Shelton, CT 06484

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-432/FD/eal/06231997