FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-602
August 13, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by Gordon J. Mello, Complainant
against
John Nejfelt, Chairman, Ethics Commission, Town of Somers; Martha Rainey; Timothy Daly; Frank Devers, Jr.; Douglas G. Reed; as members of the Somers Ethics Commission; and Somers Ethics Commission, Respondents

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 13 and June 19, 1997, at which times the complainant and the respondents appeared. On June 19, 1997, the parties also 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 dated December 16, 1996, and filed on December 18, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to list, on the agenda of its November 25, 1996 meeting, business considered at that meeting and failing to record in its minutes for the November 25, 1996 meeting the votes taken on several issues at the meeting.

3. Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in pertinent parts:

The votes of each member of any such public agency upon any issue before such public agency …shall …be recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken….

The notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted. No other business shall be considered at such meetings by such public agency.

4. It is found that the individual respondents held a special meeting of the respondent commission on November 25, 1996 and that the notice filed before the meeting listed separate items of business for: "Ethics hearing, case #073096, Board of Selectmen v. Boisvert", and immediately following as the next item, "Deliberations/ continuance (as necessary)".

5. It is found that the respondents, following the hearing in Board of Selectmen v. Boisvert, did discuss and vote on questions that were part of the Board of Selectmen v. Boisvert matter, including whether Mr. Boisvert had violated the town ethics code and whether the respondent commission should recommend that the town reconsider approval of a related zoning application. In addition, the question of whether the respondent commission should impose sanctions was discussed.

6. It is found that the minutes for the respondent Commission’s November 25, 1996 meeting did record the votes of each member for all votes taken at said meeting.

7. It is concluded that the notice of the respondent commission’s November 25, 1996 special meeting fairly apprised the public of the discussion and votes occurring at that meeting, and that the respondents did not violate 1-21(a), G.S., or any other provision of the FOI Act with reference to the matters at issue herein.

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.

2. The Commission notes that all the parties in this matter live together in a town with a fairly small population and expresses the hope that all parties will, in the future, make serious efforts to see that goodwill and reasonable accommodation inform their FOI actions toward one another.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 13, 1997.

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
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:
Gordon J. Mello
c/o Mark Jones
106 Bilton Road
Somers, CT 06071

John Nejfelt
10 Scully Road
Somers, CT 06071

Martha Rainey
20 Blue Ridge Mountain Drive
Somers, CT 06071

Timothy Daly
151 Turnpike Road
Somers, CT 06071

Frank Devers, Jr.
13 Colonial Drive
Somers, CT 06071

Douglas G. Reed
52 Skyridge Drive
Somers, CT 06071

Somers Ethics Commission
c/o Atty. Carl T. Landolina
Fahey, Landolina & Associates, LLC
487 Spring Street, Suite Two
Windsor Locks, CT 06096

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
fic1996-602/FD/tcg/08201997