FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Brian Laubstein,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-256
Planning and Zoning Commission,
Town of Oxford; and Town of Oxford,
Respondents January 13, 1999


        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 4, 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 dated August 25, 1998 and filed August 26, 1998, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by conducting an "ex parte" meeting. As remedy, the complainant asked that the Commission declare a decision reached by the respondent commission at its August 20, 1998 meeting null and void.

        3. It is found that, on July 23, 1998, the respondents held a regular meeting, which the complainant attended.

        4. It is also found that, shortly after the adjournment of the meeting described in paragraph 3, above, the complainant observed three members of the seven member respondent commission engaged in a conversation with certain individuals, and that such conversation was the alleged "meeting" in violation of the FOI Act, as described in the complaint.

        5. Section 1-21i(b)(1), G.S., in relevant part states:

[a]ny person denied…any…right conferred by the [FOI] Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission. A notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days after such denial, except in the case of an  unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed within thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice in fact that such meeting was held…

[Emphasis added.]

        7. It is found that the complaint to the Commission was filed beyond the thirty-day jurisdictional mandate for filing appeals set forth in 1-21i(b)(1), G.S.

        8. Accordingly, it is concluded that the Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction in this matter to address the merits of this complaint.

        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 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

        2. The Commission regrets its omission in not notifying the parties of this jurisdictional defect prior to hearing, and apologizes for the inconvenience caused by such error.

 

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 13, 1999.

 

 

_________________________

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:

 

Brian Laubstein

5 Hilltop Ridge

Oxford, CT 06478

Planning and Zoning

Commission, Town of

Oxford; and Town of Oxford

c/o Atty. Edward R. Giacci

375 Bridgeport Avenue

Shelton, CT 06484

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-256FD/mrb01141999