FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
John A. DeLutio,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-140
Abraham N. Morelli, First Selectman,
Town of Ridgefield; Peter Yanity,
Joseph Savino, Barbara Manners and
Michael Jones as members of the Board 
of Selectmen, Town of Ridgefield; and
Board of Selectmen, Town of Ridgefield
Respondents September 9, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 14, 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 of complaint dated May 4, 1998 and filed with the Commission on 
May 12 1998, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of 
Information (“FOI”) Act, with respect to a meeting held on April 8, 1998, by:
a.  failing to file a record of votes within forty-eight hours 
of the meeting and improperly recording the votes taken at 
such meeting;
b.  filing the minutes on April 14, 1998;
c.  adding an item to the agenda without first obtaining the 
required two-thirds vote;
d.  improperly convening in executive session to discuss 
two real estate matters concerning the Eppoliti and Shadow 
Lake properties; and
e.  permitting three members of the Educational Committee 
to attend and remain in the executive session.
In his letter of complaint, the complainant requested that the commission impose a civil 
penalty upon the respondent board.
	3.  It is found that the respondent board held a regular meeting on April 8, 1998.
	4.  With respect to the allegations described in paragraph 2a, above, 1-21(a), 
G.S., in relevant part, provides:
The votes of each member of any … public agency upon any 
issue before such 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.
	5.  It is found that the respondent board failed to make available for public 
inspection within forty eight hours of the April 8, 1998 meeting the vote of each of its 
members upon each issue before the respondent board.
	6.  Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent board violated 1-21(a), G.S.
	7.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2b, above, it is found that 
the respondent board filed the minutes of the April 8, 1998 meeting on April 14, 1998.
	8.  It is concluded that the filing of the minutes described in paragraph 7, above, is 
in accordance with the seven day requirement of 1-21(a), G.S.  Therefore, the 
respondents did not violate such provision.
	9.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2c, above, 1-21(a), G.S., 
in relevant part, provides:
Upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of 
a public agency present and voting, any subsequent 
business not included in such filed agendas may be 
considered and acted upon at such meetings….
	10.  It is found that the respondent board failed to prove that it obtained a two-
thirds vote prior to adding to the April 8, 1998 agenda an item of business described as 
“interview of applicant Cortez Barios and George Orlan for building committee.”
	11.  Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent board violated 1-21(a), 
G.S.
	12.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2d, above, it is found 
that during the April 8, 1998 meeting, the respondent board convened in executive 
session and at that time discussed the town’s acquisition of the Eppoliti property, as well 
as strategy in connection with a pending bankruptcy action concerning such property.  
There was no discussion concerning the Shadow Lake Road property.
	13.  Section 1-21(a), G.S., in relevant part, provides:
A public agency may hold an executive session as defined 
in subdivision (6) of section 1-18a, upon an affirmative 
vote of two-thirds of the members of such body present and 
voting, taken at a public meeting and stating the reasons for 
such executive session, as defined in said section 1-18a.
	14.  Section 1-18a(6), G.S., in relevant part, provides:
"Executive sessions" means a meeting of a public agency at 
which the public is excluded for one or more of the 
following purposes: …  (B)  strategy and negotiations with 
respect to pending claims or pending litigation to which the 
public agency or a member thereof, because of his conduct 
as a member of such agency, is a party until such litigation 
or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled
	15.  It is found that the respondent board failed to state the reason for the 
executive session, in accordance with 1-21(a) and 1-18a(6), G.S.
	16.  However, it is found that by discussing the town’s strategy with respect to the 
litigation described in paragraph 12, above, the respondent board did not violate the 
executive session provisions of 1-18a(6), G.S.
	17.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2e, above, it is found 
that the respondent board invited members of the Education Committee to participate in 
the executive session.
	18.  Section 1-21g(a), G.S., in relevant part, provides:
At an executive session of a public agency, attendance shall 
be limited to members of said body and persons invited by 
said body to present testimony or opinion pertinent to 
matters before said body provided that such persons' 
attendance shall be limited to the period for which their 
presence is necessary to present such testimony or opinion 
and, provided further, that the minutes of such executive 
session shall disclose all persons who are in attendance 
except job applicants who attend for the purpose of being 
interviewed by such agency.
	19.  It is found that the respondent board failed to prove that the attendance of the 
Education Committee members at the executive session was limited to the period for 
which their presence was necessary to present testimony or opinion, within the meaning 
of 1-21g(a), G.S.
	20.  It is also found that the April 8, 1998 minutes do not disclose all persons in 
attendance at the executive session in accordance with the requirement of 1-21g(a), G.S.
	21.  It is therefore, concluded that the respondent board violated 1-21(a) and 1-
21g(a), G.S.
	22.  The Commission in its discretion declines to impose a civil penalty in this 
matter.
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with 1-21(a) and 1-21g(a), 
G.S.
	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:
John A. DeLutio
60 Walnut Grove Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Abraham N. Morelli, First Selectman,
Town of Ridgefield; Peter Yanity,
Joseph Savino, Barbara Manners and
Michael Jones as members of the Board 
of Selectmen, Town of Ridgefield; and
Board of Selectmen, Town of Ridgefield
c/o Atty. J. Allen Kerr Jr.
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877


__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1998-140/FD/mrb09161998