FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Frances B. Lo,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-117
Kurt Zemba, Chairman, Board of Education,
Regional School District #18; Russell Gomes,
Roderick White, William Wenck, Richard
Lickwar, and William Groves as members
of the Board of Education, Regional School
District #18; and Board Of Education,
Regional School District #18,
Respondents September 23, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 29, 1998 at 
which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and 
presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  Docket #FIC 1998-119, 
Frances B. Lo v. Kurt Zemba, Chairman, Board of Education, Regional School District 
#18, was consolidated with the above-captioned matter for purpose of hearing.

	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 April 21, 1998 and filed with the Commission on 
April 22, 1998, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of 
Information (“FOI”) Act by participating in illegal meetings.  Specifically, the 
complainant alleges that the respondents:
a.  held an unnoticed meeting on April 21, 1998 and 
discussed a personnel matter concerning the superintendent 
of schools (“superintendent”); and
b.  held unnoticed meetings during which the respondents 
discussed and decided on a course of action regarding the 
personnel matter described in 2a. above;
In her letter of complaint, the complainant requested that the commission impose civil 
penalties upon the respondents and require them to attend FOI training.
	3.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2a. above, it is found that 
on April 21, 1998, the respondent chairman met with the superintendent and the 
respondent board’s attorney and discussed a possible resolution of a personnel matter 
concerning the superintendent (hereinafter “April 21, 1998 meeting”).  No other member 
of the nine member board of education attended the April 21, 1998 meeting.
	4.  Section 1-18a(2), G.S., provides, in relevant part:
"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; an 
administrative or staff meeting of a single-member public 
agency….
	5.  It is found that during the April 21, 1998 meeting the respondent chairman was 
acting in an administrative capacity as head of the board of education.
	6.  It is also found that when the respondent chairman acts in an administrative 
capacity as head of the board of education he is a “single-member public agency”, within 
the meaning of 1-18a(2), G.S.
	7.  It is therefore, found that under the specific facts of this case the April 21, 1998 
meeting constituted “an administrative meeting of a single-member public agency”, 
within the meaning of 1-18a(2), G.S.
	8.  Consequently, it is concluded that the April 21, 1998 meeting is excluded from 
the open meeting provisions of 1-21(a), G.S., and the respondents did not violate such 
provision.
	9.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2b, above, it is found that 
sometime between April 4, 1998 and April 21, 1998, the respondents spoke by telephone 
at different times and discussed the personnel matter in question.
	10.  It is also found that as a result of the telephone discussions described in 
paragraph 9, above, it became apparent to the respondent chairman that there was 
consensus among the respondents, that a particular course of action should be pursued 
with respect to resolving the personnel matter.
	11.  It is further found that the telephone discussions, and the consensus described 
in paragraph 10, above, occurred among members of the board of education who are all 
from the same political party.  Consequently, such telephone discussions constitute 
caucuses within the meaning of 1-18a(2), G.S., and are therefore, excluded from the 
open meeting provisions of 1-21(a), G.S.
	12.  It is therefore, concluded that the respondents did not violate 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.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of 
September 23, 1998.


_________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
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:
Frances B. Lo
20 Old Stagecoach Road
Old Lyme, CT 06371
Kurt Zemba, Chairman, Board of Education,
Regional School District #18; Russell Gomes,
Roderick White, William Wenck, Richard
Lickwar, and William Groves as members
of the Board of Education, Regional School
District #18; and Board Of Education,
Regional School District #18
c/o Atty. Richard D. O’Connor
Siegel, O’Connor, Schiff & Zangari, PC
150 Trumbull Street
Hartford, CT. 06103


__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1998-117FD/mrb09241998