FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Jon Schatz and the New Haven Register,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-142
Legislative Council, Town of Hamden,
and Town of Hamden
Respondents October 28, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 5, 1998 at 
which time the complainants 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 respondent legislative council is a public agency within the meaning of 1-
18a(1), G.S.
	2.  By letter of complaint dated May 12, 1998 and filed with the Commission on 
May 13, 1998, the complainants alleged that the respondent council violated the Freedom 
of Information (“FOI”) Act with respect to a May 5, 1998 meeting, by:
a.  convening a special meeting without proper notice or an 
agenda;
b.  convening in executive session for an improper purpose 
and discussing topics not appropriate for executive session;
c.  failing to announce publicly beforehand its intention to 
convene in executive session; and
d.  discussing an employee’s compensation in executive 
session without providing the employee with notice of such 
discussion.
	3.  The complainants also alleged in their complaint that the respondent council 
violated the FOI Act with respect to an April 27, 1998 meeting, by:
a.  holding an unannounced special meeting prior to the 
duly noticed April 27, 1998 meeting; and
b.  holding an illegal executive session during the 
unannounced April 27, 1998 special meeting.
	4.  The complainants further alleged in their complaint that the respondent council 
violated the FOI Act by convening meetings on April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 
29, 1998 and failing to provide notice or agendas for such meetings, and failing to have 
available minutes of such meetings.
	5.  With respect to the allegations described in paragraphs 2a and 4 above, it is 
found that the respondent council held meetings on April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 
and 29, 1998 and May 5, 1998, for the purpose of budget deliberations.
	6.  At the hearing on this matter the respondent council conceded that it did not 
file a notice or agenda, or prepare minutes for the budget deliberations, described in 
paragraph 5, above.
	7.  In addition, the respondent council further indicated at the hearing on this 
matter, that due to the informality of the discussions at the budget deliberations, no 
agendas were created until the start of each meeting, at which time consensus was 
reached by those members present concerning the evening’s agenda.  Votes were 
recorded in “budget notes”, filed in the respondent council’s office.
	8.  Section 1-18a(2), G.S., defines “meeting” as:
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.
	9.  It is concluded that the budget deliberations, described in paragraph 5, above, 
were proceedings of the respondent council during which the respondent council 
discussed and acted upon matters over which it has supervision, control, jurisdiction or 
advisory power within the meaning of 1-18a(2), G.S.
	10.  Consequently, the budget deliberations constituted meetings within the 
meaning of 1-18a(2), G.S., and were therefore, subject to the meetings requirements of 
the FOI Act.
	11.  It is further concluded that the budget deliberations constituted special 
meetings within the meaning of 1-21(a), G.S.
	12.  Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:
Notice of each special meeting of every public agency … 
shall be given not less than twenty-four hours prior to the 
time of such meeting by filing a notice of the time and 
place thereof in the office of the … clerk of such 
subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision 
of the state ….  The secretary or clerk shall cause any 
notice received under this section to be posted in his 
office….
The notice shall specify the time and place of the special 
meeting and the business to be transacted.  No other 
business shall be considered at such meetings by such 
public agency.
	13.  Section 1-21(a), G.S., further provides, in relevant 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 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.
	14.  It is found that the “budget notes”, described in paragraph 7, above, and 
presented as an exhibit at the hearing on this matter do not fulfill the minutes and/or 
record of votes requirements of 1-21(a), G.S.
	15.  It is therefore, concluded that the respondent council violated 1-21(a), G.S., 
by convening special meetings on April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29, 1998 and 
May 5, 1998, without filing and posting the appropriate notice of such meetings, and by 
failing to have available for public inspection within seven days the minutes of such 
meetings, and by failing to have a record of each council member’s vote, upon each issue 
taken up at such meetings.
	16.  With respect to the allegations described in paragraph 2b and 2d, above, it is 
found that the respondent council convened in executive session during the May 5, 1998 
meeting and at that time discussed generally the salaries for various positions, as well as 
adjustments to the salaries of specific employees.
	17.  Section 1-18a(6), G.S., provides in relevant part:
"Executive sessions" means a meeting of a public agency at 
which the public is excluded for one or more of the 
following purposes:  (A)  Discussion concerning the 
appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health 
or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that 
such individual may require that discussion be held at an 
open meeting.
	18.  It is found that the general discussion concerning salaries, described in 
paragraph 16, above, was not a proper purpose for an executive session, within the 
meaning of 1-18a(6), G.S.
	19.  It is also found that the discussion concerning the salaries of specific 
employees described in paragraph 16, above, constituted a discussion concerning such 
employees’ employment within the meaning of 1-18a(6), G.S.  Consequently, such 
employees should have been notified of the intended executive session discussion, prior 
to such discussion, and given the option of having such discussion held at an open 
meeting.
	20.  It is therefore, concluded that the respondent council violated 1-18a(6), G.S., 
by discussing salaries generally during the May 5, 1998 executive session, and by failing 
to provide the specific employees, whose salaries were discussed, with notice of the 
intended executive session discussion.
	21.  With respect to the allegations described in paragraph 2c, above, it is found 
that the respondent council obtained a two-thirds vote prior to convening in executive 
session on May 5, 1998.
	22.  Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:
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.
	23.  It is concluded that nothing in 1-21(a), G.S., precludes the respondent 
council from convening in executive session during a special meeting.
	24.  Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent council did not violate 1-
21(a), G.S., by its decision to convene in executive session during the May 5, 1998 
special meeting.
	25.  With respect to the allegations described in paragraph 3a and 3b, above, it is 
found that prior to the start of a duly noticed April 27, 1998 meeting, the respondent 
council met with the town manager and discussed a pending litigation matter in private.
	26.  It is concluded that the respondent council’s discussion with the town 
manager constituted an unannounced or secret meeting of the respondent council during 
which the respondent council discussed a matter over which it has supervision, control, 
jurisdiction or advisory power within the meaning of 1-18a(2), G.S.
	27.  It is further concluded that the April 27, 1998 discussion with the town 
manger constituted a special meeting within the meaning of 1-21(a), G.S.
	28.  It is further concluded that the respondent council should have discussed the 
pending litigation matter during a properly called executive session, at a duly noticed 
regular or special meeting.
	29.  It is therefore, concluded that the respondent council violated 1-21(a), G.S., 
by holding an unannounced special meeting on April 27, 1998.
	30.  The Commission does not find that the respondent council willfully 
attempted to circumvent the FOI Act with respect to any of the violations found.  
However, it is apparent that there is an urgent need on the part of the respondent council 
for education concerning the public’s rights and its responsibilities under the FOI Act.
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1.  Henceforth, the respondent council shall strictly comply with 1-18a(6) and 
1-21(a), G.S.
	2.  Forthwith, the respondent council shall contact the FOI Commission staff to 
schedule an FOI Act workshop.




Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of 
October 28, 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:
Jon Schatz and the 
New Haven Register
c/o Gladys Alcedo
40 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT 06511-5918
Legislative Council, 
Town of Hamden
c/o Atty. Carol L. Noble
Office of Legislative Council
Town Hall
23372 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
and 
c/o Atty. Evelyn N. Parise
Office of Legislative Council
Town Hall
23372 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
Town of Hamden
c/o Atty. Susan Gruen
Hamden Town Attorney
23372 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518


__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission


FIC1998-142FD/mrb10301998