FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Sarah Gillis Schinis,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-130
Peter Danielczuk, President, Ansonia Board of Aldermen, Town of Ansonia; David Cassetti; Joseph Cassetti; Ralphine Ford; Jane Della Volpe; George Pritchard; Michael J. Joyce; Jeremiah Kennedy; and Kevin Blake, as members of the Ansonia Board of Aldermen, Town of Ansonia,
Respondents September 9, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 30, 1998, at 
which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, 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(a), G.S.
	2.  By letter dated May 2, 1998 and filed on May 6, 1998, the complainant 
appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of 
Information Act by failing to file minutes for the April 14, 1998 meeting of the Ansonia 
Board of Alderman (the “meeting” of the “board”) on a timely basis, and also requesting 
that the Commission investigate possible unlawful meetings of the board before and 
during a recess of the meeting.
	3.  Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in pertinent part:
The meetings of all public agencies, except executive 
sessions as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-18a, 
shall be open to the public. The votes of each member of 
any such public agency upon any issue before such public 
agency shall 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.	
	4. And  1-18a(2), G.S., states that:
"Meeting" means any hearing or other proceeding of a 
public agency, any convening or assembly of a quorum of a 
multimember public agency, and any communication by or 
to a quorum of a multimember public agency, whether in 
person or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or 
act upon a matter over which the public agency has 
supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.  
"Meeting" shall not include: …a caucus of members of a 
single political party notwithstanding that such members 
also constitute a quorum of a public agency….(emphasis 
added)
	5.  It is found that the minutes for the meeting were not filed until April 27, 1998.
	6.  It is found that there was a caucus of Democratic members of the board on the 
evening before the meeting and that, at such caucus, there was a consensus in favor of the 
nomination of Savas Schinis to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
	7.  It is found that, during a recess of the meeting of the board, there was a second 
caucus of Democratic members of the board (except for Aldermen Samela and Kennedy).
	8.  It is also found that, while returning to the meeting at the end of the recess, 
board president Danielczuk told Alderman Samela words to the effect “we are voting 
against Schinis”, and after Alderman Samela’s expressions of non-concurrence, president 
Danielczuk added: “you vote your conscience.”
	9.  It is further found that, during the recess, Alderman David Cassetti, a 
Republican, met and conferred briefly concerning the Schinis appointment with the 
mayor, a Republican and non-voting ex- officio member of the board, together with his 
brother, Alderman Joseph Cassetti, also a Republican.
	10.  It is found that, at the resumed meeting following the recess, the nomination 
of Savas Schinis to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals was defeated on a nine to four 
vote, with seven Democrats and both Aldermen Cassettis voting against the nomination.
	11.  It is concluded that the minutes for the meeting were not filed within seven 
days of the meeting and, accordingly, that the respondents violated the filing deadline of 
 1-21(a), G.S.
	12.  It is concluded that no communication to a quorum of the board outside of the 
two Democratic caucuses has been proven, and therefore no violation of 1-21, G.S., has 
been established other than the violation stated at paragraph 11, above.
	
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1.  Henceforth, the board shall file its minutes on a timely basis.
	2.  While the FOIA violation proven in the present case was limited to the failure 
to timely file minutes, an unfortunate and disappointing process by the board is, 
nonetheless, evident. Sava Schinis was apparently rejected, despite his willingness to 
serve the public, based upon unfounded, last minute, anonymous allegations made to one 
or more aldermen that Mr. Schinis was an illegal alien and employed illegal aliens. 
Though this apparently incorrect information seems to have been lawfully communicated 
to a quorum of the board, a multi-member agency, through the caucus method, it is 
regrettable that the matter was not handled more deliberately and tabled pending a fair 
investigation. 
	3.  The respondent board shall cause a copy of this decision to be posted in the 
town hall of Ansonia in a public area for a period of thirty (30) days.

	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:
Sarah Gillis Schinis
c/o Atty. John L. Calvocoressi
Calvocoressi & Gale
363 Main Street, 4th flr
Hartford, CT. 06106
Peter Danielczuk, President,
Ansonia Board of Aldermen,
Town of Ansonia; David Cassetti; 
Joseph Cassetti; Ralphine Ford;
Jane Della Volpe; George Pritchard;
Michael J. Joyce; Jeremiah Kennedy; 
and Kevin Blake, as members of the 
Ansonia Board of Aldermen,
Town of Ansonia
c/o Atty. Richard S. Bruchal
P.O.Box 454
Ansonia, CT 06401


__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1998-130/FD/mrb09151998