FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket #FIC 1998-077|
Committee, Town of Andover,
|Respondents||July 22, 1998|
The above-captioned matter was scheduled to be heard as a contested case on April 21, 1998, at which time the complainant appeared, but the respondent did not. The records of the Commission indicate that the respondent received timely notice of the time and place of the hearing in this matter. The complainant 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-18a(1), G.S.
2. By letter dated March 23, 1998 and filed March 24, 1998, the complainant alleged several violations on the part of the respondent. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant limited her complaint to an allegation that the respondent did not provide adequate notice of the business ultimately transacted at its special meeting of February 23, 1998 regarding Andover toilet renovations (hereinafter renovations). The complainant requested that the Commission declare null and void the vote at such meeting regarding the renovations.
3. Section 1-21(a), G.S., in relevant part provides:
[n]otice of each special meeting of every public agency shall be given not less than twenty-four hours prior to the time of such meeting by filing a notice of the time and place thereof in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision of the state . 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 notice of the respondents special meeting of February 23, 1998, included the following items:
1. Call to Order 2. Public Comment 3. Approval of Jan. 29, 1998 Minutes 4. CIP Projects 1997 5. CIP Projects 1998 6. Capitol Improvement Plan 7. Public Comment 8. Adjourn.
5. It is found that, at the meeting described in paragraph 4, above, the respondents voted to approve $200,000.00 for the renovations, as a CIP 1998 Project.
6. It is concluded that, since 1998 CIP Projects was listed as an agenda item for the respondents special meeting of February 23, 1998, and since the Renovations project was one such project, the respondents met the minimum requirements of §1-21(a), 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.
2. The Commission commends the complainant in this matter, who is an ex officio member of the respondent committee, for her attempt to require more specificity in the respondents agendas. Certainly, the Commission encourages public agencies to be as descriptive as possible in setting agendas, so that the public may be informed of important decisions made on its behalf by public agencies. In this instance, a sizable sum of taxpayer money was involved; and while the agenda for the meeting met the minimum requirements of the FOI Act, an itemization of the 1998 CIP projects would have provided the public with more meaningful notice of the respondents plans.
3. The Commission strongly urges that the town of Andover contact the Commissions staff to set up a workshop for town agencies concerning the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 22, 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:
Joan Foran 143 Hebron Road Andover, CT 06232
Andover Capital Improvement Committee, Town of Andover Town Office Building P.O. Box 328 Andover, CT 06232
__________________________ Doris V. Luetjen Acting Clerk of the Commission