OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|Richard A. Rutkowski,|
|against||Docket #FIC 1998-060|
|Mayor, Town of Berlin;
Council, Town of Berlin; and
Town of Berlin,
|Respondents||June 10, 1998|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 4, 1998, 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.
2. By letter dated February 27, 1998 and filed with the Commission on March 3, 1998, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) Act and Section 3-4 of Chapter 3 of the Berlin Town Charter by failing to provide written notification of the February 26, 1998 special meeting of the Berlin Town Council to one member of such council.
3. Because the Commission lacks jurisdiction to consider alleged violations of municipal charters, it shall not further address that particular aspect of the complaint in this matter. Thus, the only remaining issue relates to whether or not the respondents violated the FOI Act by declining to provide the written notification described in paragraph 2, above.
4. It is found that the Berlin Town Council held a special meeting on February 26, 1998 and that the notice of such meeting was timely filed and posted with the town clerk as required by the provisions of §1-21(a), G.S.
5. Section1-21(a), G.S., further provides in relevant part that:
such written notice [of a special meeting] shall be delivered to the usual place of abode of each member of the public agency so that the same is received prior to such special meeting. The requirement of delivery of such written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who at or prior to the time the meeting convenes files with the clerk or secretary of the public agency a written waiver of delivery of such notice. Such waiver may be given by telegram. The requirement of delivery of such written notice may also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes .
6. It is concluded that §1-21(a), G.S., confers upon individual members of public agencies the right to home delivery of written notice of special meetings.
7. It is found that Ida Ragazzi, the council member described in paragraph 2, above, was out of state during the week preceding the special meeting described in such paragraph. It is further found that Councilor Ragazzi had actual, if not written, notice of such meeting more than twenty four hours prior to such meeting and that she in fact attended, and participated in, such meeting.
8. It is further found that the respondent town council could have properly dispensed with the written notice requirement to Councilor Ragazzi under the facts presented, pursuant to §1-21(a), G.S.
9. Section 1-21i(c), G.S., in relevant part provides that:
[a]ny person who does not receive proper notice of any meeting of a public agency in accordance with the provisions of the [FOI] Act may appeal under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section .
10. Section 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., in relevant part provides that:
[a]ny person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-19 or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a public agency or denied any other right conferred by the [FOI] Act may appeal therefrom to the [FOI] Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission .
11. It is found that the complainant is not a member of the Berlin Town Council.
12. It is concluded that the complainant has not been denied any right conferred by §1-21i(c), G.S., or any other provision of the FOI Act and therefore has no basis upon which to appeal to this Commission pursuant to the provisions of §1-21i(b)(1), G.S.
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 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 10, 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:
Richard A. Rutkowski 154 Ridgewood Lane Kensington, CT 06037
Mayor, Town of Berlin; Town Council, Town of Berlin; and Town of Berlin c/o Atty. E. Timothy Sullivan, Jr. Gaffrey, Kane, Reynolds, Sullivan, & Vollmer 1 Liberty Square New Britain, CT 06051
__________________________ Doris V. Luetjen Acting Clerk of the Commission