FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-434
June 11, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by James M. Ray, Complainant
against
Anthony Fuschillo, Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford; Glen Fecto, Bert Brander, Arthur Ciccarello, Daniel Charest, Marlene Geissler and James Smith, as members of the Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford; Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford; Bruce Gresczyk, First Selectman, Town of New Hartford and Barbara Schaffer, Recording Secretary, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford, Respondents

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 28, 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. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letter to the New Hartford Town Clerk dated and hand delivered on September 10, 1996, the complainant requested a certified copy of the agendas of the respondent Water Pollution Control Authority’s ("WPCA") August 13, 1996 and September 10, 1996 meetings, and a certified copy of the minutes of the August 13th meeting.

3. Under cover letter dated September 10, 1996, the town clerk provided the complainant with copies of the requested agendas, and advised him that a copy of the requested minutes could not be provided because she had not received them from the WPCA.

4. By letter of complaint dated and filed with the Commission on September 12, 1996, the complainant alleged that the respondent WPCA failed to: (a) "make, keep and maintain a record of the proceedings of its meetings" as required by 1-19(a), G.S., and (b) file the minutes of its August 13, 1996 meeting as required by 1-21(a), G.S.

5. It is found that the requested minutes are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., which must be available for public inspection and copying as set forth in 1-19(a) and 1-21(a), G.S.

6. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

… each [public] agency shall keep and maintain all public records in its custody at its regular office or place of business in an accessible place and, if there is no such office or place of business, the public records pertaining to such agency shall be kept in the office of the [municipal] clerk …. Each such agency shall make, keep and maintain a record of the proceedings of its meetings.

7. Section 1-21(a), G.S., in relevant part provides that with the exception of emergency special meetings, the minutes of the meetings of all public agencies "shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer."

8. It is found that the respondent WPCA has a regular office or place of business on the first floor of the town hall where the minutes of its meetings are filed and available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours.

9. It is also found that it is the practice of the respondent recording secretary to provide the town clerk with a courtesy copy of the agenda and minutes of each WPCA meeting.

10. It is further found that on August 13, 1996 the respondent WPCA held a special meeting and the minutes of that meeting were filed by the respondent recording secretary in the WPCA’s office and available to the public on August 15, 1996, in accordance with the provisions of 1-19(a) and 1-21(a), G.S.

11. It is further found that on or about August 15, 1996, the respondent recording secretary placed a copy of the subject minutes in the town clerk’s mailbox, which was the usual and customary filing practice prior to September 17, 1996. However, the town clerk did not receive the subject minutes until a replacement copy was provided to her by the respondent recording secretary on or about September 12, 1996.

12. It is further found that the complainant never requested that any of the respondents provide him with a copy of the subject minutes.

13. It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the Freedom of Information Act with respect to any of the complainant’s allegations as set forth in paragraph 4, above.

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:

James M. Ray
101 Behrens Road
New Hartford, CT 06057

Anthony Fuschillo, Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford; Glen Fecto, Bert Brander, Arthur Ciccarello, Daniel Charest, Marlene Geissler and James Smith, as members of the Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford; Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford; Bruce Gresczyk, First Selectman, Town of New Hartford and Barbara Schaffer, Recording Secretary, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of New Hartford
c/o Richard L. Street, Esq.
Carmody & Torrance
50 Leavenworth Street
PO Box 1110
Waterbury, CT 06721-1110

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-434/FD/eal/06231997