FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Margaret Bessel,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-054
Chairman, Facilities Study Committee,
Sherman Board of Education; Facilities
Study Committee, Sherman Board of
Education; and Facilities Design Selection
Committee, Sherman Board of Education,
Respondents September 9, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 16, 1998, at 
which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 
and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  Upon agreement of 
all parties, the case caption has been amended to add a respondent, as set forth in the 
complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this case was consolidated with Docket # 
FIC1998-041, Natalie Sirkin; Rosemary Bradshaw; and Elizabeth Rowburrey against 
Superintendent, Sherman Public Schools; Board of Education, Sherman Public Schools; 
Board of Selectman, Town of Sherman; and Town of Sherman.
	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 postmarked February 9, 1998, the complainant alleged 
several violations of the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act at meetings held in 1997.  
At the hearing in this matter, the complainant limited her complaint to allegations against 
the respondents named in the case caption, above, and to the following issues: 
a)  The respondents did not file proper notice of their meetings;
b)  The respondents did not properly elect officers;
c)  The respondent facilities design selection committee (hereinafter, the 
“subcommittee”) was formed without proper public input;
d)  The respondents did not keep minutes;
e)  Bids were obtained outside the confines of the FOI Act;
f)  A request for proposal did not meet the discussed need as outlined by the 
facilities study committee (hereinafter the “committee”).   
By way of relief, the complainant asked that the Sherman board of education receive 
formal training in the requirements of the FOI Act.  
	3.   It is concluded that the allegations contained in paragraph 2.b, 2.c, 2.e, and 2.f, 
above, do not constitute violations of the FOI Act.  Accordingly, such allegations shall 
not be addressed herein.
	4.   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). 
	5.   It is found that the respondent committee and the respondent subcommittee 
conducted several meetings in calendar year 1997.  
	6.   It is found that, in 1997, the complainant knew of the respondents’ allegedly 
improperly noticed meetings which took place in calendar year 1997.  
	7.   Pursuant to 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., the Commission therefore lacks jurisdiction in 
this matter to consider allegations with respect to any meetings of the respondents which 
may have taken place prior to January 10, 1998.   
	8.   Although the complaint alleges that the respondent committee conducted 
improperly noticed meetings “up to and including the middle of January, 1998,” the 
complainant failed to prove that the respondent committee or the respondent 
subcommittee met on a date certain between January 10, 1998, and February 9, 1998, the 
date of the mailing of the complaint in this matter.    
	9.   Furthermore, the complainant is limited by the allegations contained in her 
complaint.  Accordingly, the Commission is likewise without jurisdiction to address 
allegations made by the complainant at the hearing in this matter relative to unnoticed 
Sherman board of education meetings, since such allegations were not made in her 
complaint.  
	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.  Although the complaint is necessarily dismissed, the Commission takes 
seriously the admissions made by the respondents at the hearing in this matter relative to 
past FOI Act violations.  The Commission therefore strongly urges the Sherman Board of 
Education to contact the Commission’s staff to set up a workshop concerning the 
requirements of that 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:
Margaret Bessel
c/o Henry A. Bessel, Jr.
Smoke Ridge Farms
Sherman, CT 06784
Chairman, Facilities Study Committee, 
Sherman Board of Education; Facilities 
Study Committee, Sherman Board of 
Education; and Facilities Design Selection 
Committee, Sherman Board of Education, 
c/o Michael Perrone and Paul Mucci
2 Route 37 East 
Sherman, CT 06784

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1998-054/FD/mrb09151998