FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Elizabeth Bowman, Susan Fogliano
and Daniel Hagan,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-119
Kurt Zemba, Chairman, 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 complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and 
presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  Docket #FIC 1998-117, 
Frances B. Lo v. 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, 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.
	2.  By letter of complaint dated April 24, 1998 and filed with the Commission on 
April 28, 1998, the complainants alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of 
Information Act between April 4, 1998 through April 21, 1998 by:
a.  holding an illegal meeting with the superintendent of 
schools and at that time addressing a personnel matter 
concerning the superintendent; and
b.  coordinating communications and consensus among a 
subset of the board of education and representing such 
consensus as board action without convening a legal 
meeting.
In their letter of complaint, the complainants requested that the commission impose a 
civil penalty upon the respondent and require him 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 met with the superintendent and the board of 
education’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 was acting in 
an administrative capacity as head of the board of education.
	6.  It is also found that when the respondent 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 respondent 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 respondent spoke by telephone, 
at different times to several board of education members, 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 that there was consensus among 
six members of the board of education, including himself, 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 respondent 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.
	2.  This decision in no way addresses that portion of the complaint that alleges 
that the respondent acted without the authority of the full board of education.  Such issue 
is outside of the scope of this Commission’s jurisdiction.


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:
Elizabeth Bowman
26-3 Mount Archer Road
Lyme, CT 06371
Susan Fogliano 
4 Swanswood Lane
Old Lyme, CT 06371
Daniel Hagan
224 Blood Street
Lyme, CT 06371
Kurt Zemba, Chairman, 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




FIC1998-119FD/mrb09241998