FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

James R. McLoughlin,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1997-127

Jimmy Davis, Chairman, Board of Fire Commissioners, Blue Hills Fire District, Town of Bloomfield; Alfred Allison and Barbara Bagnall as members Board of Fire Commissioners, Blue Hills Fire District, Town of Bloomfield; and Board of Fire Commissioners, Blue Hills Fire District, Town of Bloomfield,

 

 

Respondents

February 25, 1998

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 19, 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(1), G.S., ( 1-18a(a), G.S., prior to Oct. 1, 1997).

        2. It is found that on April 18, 1997 the complainant requested that the chairman of the respondent board allow him to inspect the respondent board’s meeting minutes for the months of January, February and March 1997.

        3. It is found that on April 18, 1997 the chairman of the respondent board denied the request, however, he indicated to the complainant that he would give him a call during the following week.

        4. Having failed to receive access to inspect the minutes, the complainant, by letter dated April 28, 1997 and filed on April 30, 1997 appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying him prompt access to the requested minutes. The complainant requested that the Commission impose a civil penalty upon the chairman of the respondent board, and seek the intervention of a superior court judge to oversee the Blue Hills Fire District.

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

all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15. Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void.

        6. Section 1-21(a), G.S., further provides that "[m]inutes shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer."

        7. It is found that the chairman of the respondent board did not provide the complainant with prompt access to inspect the minutes within the meaning of 1-19(a), G.S.

        8. It is also found that the respondents failed to make available for public inspection within seven days of the respondent board’s meetings the January, February and March, 1997 meeting minutes.

        9. It is therefore, concluded that the respondents violated 1-19(a) and 1-21(a), G.S.

        10. The Commission does not find that a civil penalty is warranted in this case.

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

        1. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the records and minutes provisions of 1-19(a) and 1-21(a), G.S.

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 25, 1998.

_________________________
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:
James R. McLoughlin
7 Foothills Way
Bloomfield, CT 06002

Jimmy Davis, Chairman, Board of Fire Commissioners, Blue Hills Fire District, Town of Bloomfield; Alfred Allison and Barbara Bagnall as members Board of Fire Commissioners, Blue Hills Fire District, Town of Bloomfield; and Board of Fire Commissioners, Blue Hills Fire District, Town of Bloomfield
c/o Philip K. Meister
Gerston and Gerston
234 Pearl Street
Hartford, CT 06103

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1997-127/FD/tcg/02251998