FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-550
July 9, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by Frank X. Lo Sacco, Complainant
against
Gerald E. Daley; Joseph E. Milardo, Jr.; Francis T. Patnaude; John L. Robinson; Jesse J. Salafia; Robert P. Santangelo; Steven P. Shapiro; Phrances Szewczyk; Domenique Thornton; Joseph J. Vinci, Jr.; and Gerard F. Winzer, Sr.; as members of the Common Council, City of Middletown; and Common Council, City of Middletown, Respondents

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 14, 1997, at which time the complainant and the 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 of complaint dated October 28, 1996 and filed with the Commission on October 29, 1996, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated 1-21, G.S., by holding an illegal meeting during the recess of the respondent council’s October 7, 1996 public meeting to discuss an appropriation and resolution concerning the Hunter’s Ambulance Contract with the city ("contract").

3. The complainant requested that the Commission declare that all action taken by the respondents at the council’s October 7, 1996 meeting concerning the contract be declared null and void, and that it impose a civil penalty against the named respondents.

Docket #FIC1996-550 Page 2

4. The respondents asked the Commission to impose a civil penalty against the complainant, as permitted by 1-21i(b)(2), G.S., for filing a frivolous complaint solely for the purpose of harassing the respondents.

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

any hearing or other proceeding of a public agency, any convening or assembly of a quorum of a multimember public agency, and any communication by or to a quorum of a multimember public agency, whether in person or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

6. Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in relevant part, that "[t]he meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions as defined in subsection (e) of section 1-18a, shall be open to the public…."

7. It is found that a recess was called by the respondents during the respondent council’s October 7, 1996 meeting.

8. It is found that there was no substantive discussion about the contract by a quorum of the respondents during the recess of the October 7, 1996 meeting.

9. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, it is also found that any discussions which may have taken place during the recess concerning the contract did not constitute a hearing or proceeding of the respondent council.

10. Consequently, it is concluded under the facts and circumstances of this case, that the respondents did not violate the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S., during the recess of the respondent council’s October 7, 1996 meeting.

11. The Commission declines to grant the respondents’ request for the imposition of a civil penalty against the complainant.

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

Docket #FIC1996-550 Page 3

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 July 9, 1997.

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

Docket #FIC1996-550 Page 4

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:
Frank X. LoSacco
PO Box 1125
Middletown, CT 06457

Gerald E. Daley; Joseph E. Milardo, Jr.; Francis T. Patnaude; John L. Robinson; Jesse J. Salafia; Robert P. Santangelo; Steven P. Shapiro; Phrances Szewczyk; Domenique Thornton; Joseph J. Vinci, Jr.; and Gerard F. Winzer, Sr.; as members of the Common Council, City of Middletown; and Common Council, City of Middletown
c/o Trina A. Solecki, Esq.
City Attorney’s Office
245 DeKoven Drive
PO Box 1300
Middletown, CT 06457-1300

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-550/FD/eal/07231997