FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Natalie Sirkin, Rosemary Bradshaw,
and Elizabeth Rowburrey,
Complainants
against Docket # FIC1998-041
Superintendent, Sherman Public Schools;
Board of Education, Sherman Public Schools;
Board of Selectman, Town of Sherman; and
Town of Sherman,
Respondents September 9, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 16, 1998, at 
which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and 
presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, 
this case was consolidated with Docket # FIC1998-054, Margaret Bessel against 
Chairman, Facilities Study Committee, Sherman Board of Education; Facilities Study 
Committee, Sherman Board of Education; and Facilities Design Selection Committee, 
Sherman Board of Education.  
	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 and filed with the Commission on February 10, 1998, the 
complainants alleged several violations on the part of the named respondents.  Although 
Margaret Bessel was an original complainant in this matter, by letter dated and filed 
March 21, 1998, she withdrew her participation in this complaint.  Accordingly, the 
complainants at the time of the hearing in this matter are accurately reflected in the case 
caption, above.  Specifically, the complainants allege:
a)  The respondent board of selectmen called a January 16, 1998 town meeting to 
act on a proposal of the facilities study committee (hereinafter “the 
committee”), which is a committee of the respondent board of education, 
without first ascertaining whether the committee had complied with the open 
meeting requirements of the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act;
b)  Notices of meetings of the committee have not been posted; 
c)  Minutes of the January 28, 1998 meeting of the committee were late, undated, 
unsigned and not on official stationery;
d)  The public has not been allowed to speak at committee meetings;
e)  The committee has not elected officers;
f)  A request for proposal inviting architects to bid, created by the facility design 
selection committee (hereinafter “the subcommittee”), which is a 
subcommittee of the committee, was not distributed to members of the 
committee until after an architect had been selected; and
g)  The public was misled with respect to the scope of the architect’s options.     
By way of relief, the complainants asked that the Commission invalidate the action of the 
January 16, 1998 Sherman town meeting.  However, at the hearing in this matter, the 
complainants withdrew that request and asked instead for any and all appropriate 
remedies.    
	3.   It is concluded that the allegations contained in paragraph 2.a, 2.d, 2.e, 2.f, and 
2.g, above, do not constitute violations of the FOI Act.  Accordingly, such allegations 
shall not be addressed herein.
	4.   Moreover, the complainants are limited by the allegations contained in their 
February 10, 1998 complaint.  Accordingly, the Commission is without jurisdiction to 
address allegations made by the complainants at the hearing in this matter relative to 
public meetings which took place after the filing of such complaint.    
	5.   Section 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., in relevant part provides that:
[a]ny person denied…any…right conferred by the [FOI] 
Act may appeal therefrom to the [FOI] Commission, by 
filing a notice of appeal…A notice of appeal shall be filed 
within thirty days after such denial, except in the case of an 
unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall 
be filed within thirty days after the person filing the appeal 
receives notice in fact that such meeting was held…such 
notice of appeal shall be deemed to be filed on the date it is 
received by said commission or on the date it is 
postmarked, if received more than thirty days after the date 
of the denial from which such appeal is taken
(Emphasis added).
	6.   It is found that, in 1997, the complainants knew of the allegedly improper 
meetings of the committee and subcommittee which took place in calendar year 1997.  
	7.   Pursuant to 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., the Commission has no jurisdiction in this 
matter to consider allegations with respect to any meetings which may have taken place 
prior to January 11, 1998.
	8.   It is concluded that the committee and subcommittee referenced in paragraph 
2, above, are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.
	9.   It is found that all seven members of the respondent board of education, as 
well as the respondent superintendent, were among the twenty-one members of the 
committee.   
	10.   Section 1-21(a), G.S., in relevant part provides:
…The votes of each member of any…public agency… 
shall be reduced to writing and made available for public 
inspection within forty-eight hours and shall also be 
recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken, 
which minutes shall be available for public inspection 
within seven days of the session to which they refer….  
Notice 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 Secretary of the 
State...or…in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for 
any public agency of a political subdivision of the state….
	11.  It is found that the committee conducted a special meeting on January 28, 
1998.   
	12.  It is also found that the minutes of the committee’s January 28, 1998, meeting 
were requested by the complainants on February 3, 1998, and provided to them by the 
respondent superintendent on February 4, 1998, seven days after such meeting, which is 
within the statutory limit imposed by 1-21(a), G.S. 
	13.  It  is concluded that the FOI Act does not require that minutes of public 
agencies be on particular stationery, be signed, or be dated, as alleged by the 
complainants in paragraph 2.c, above.  Therefore, it is concluded that the respondent 
superintendent and the respondent board of education did not violate 1-21(a), G.S., in 
their provision of minutes to the complainants.  
	14.  It is found that notice of the January 28, 1998 meeting described in paragraph 
11, above, was not timely filed with the appropriate public agency as mandated by 1-
21(a), G.S.   
	15.  It is concluded therefore that the respondent board of education and the 
respondent superintendent violated 1-21(a), G.S., with respect to the filing of the notice 
of the January 28, 1998 special meeting. 
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1.  The complaint against the respondent board of selectmen and the respondent 
town is hereby dismissed.
	2.  Henceforth, the respondent superintendent and the respondent board of 
education shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S. 
	3.  The Commission strongly urges the respondent board of education and the 
respondent superintendent to contact the Commission’s staff to set up a workshop 
concerning the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
	Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of 
September 9, 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:
Natalie Sirkin, Rosemary Bradshaw,
and Elizabeth Rowburrey,
c/o Natalie Sirkin
44 Big Trail
Sherman, CT 06784
Superintendent, Sherman Public Schools; and
Board of Education, Sherman Public Schools
c/o Paul Mucci	
2 Route 37 East
Sherman, CT 06784
Board of Selectman, Town of Sherman; and 
Town of Sherman,
c/o Atty. D. Randall DiBella
Cramer & Anderson LLP
51 Main Street
New Milford, CT 06776


__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1998-041/FD/mrb09151998