FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Perry Taylor,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-314
Peter J. Fresina, Chairman, Building Board
of Appeals, Town of Wallingford; George Cotter;
John Prophet; Anthony Roy, as members of the
Building Board of Appeals, Town of Wallingford;
and Building Board of Appeals, Town of Wallingford,
Respondents January 27, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 7, 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 September 11, 1998, and filed on September 15, 1998, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents held a meeting on August 19, 1998, a portion of which was improperly closed.

        3. Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides that "[t]he meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-18a, shall be open to the public."

        4. It is found that on August 19, 1998, the respondent board held a meeting during which it held a public hearing regarding the complainant’s appeal from a stop work order he received from the City of Wallingford.

        5. It is found that after testimony and evidence was presented regarding the appeal, the respondent board closed the public hearing portion of the meeting.

        6. At the hearing on this matter, the parties provided conflicting testimony regarding what took place after the public hearing was closed. The complainant and his counsel testified that the respondent chairman requested that all those in attendance leave the room while the respondent board deliberated and came to a decision regarding the complainant’s appeal and that the complainant and his counsel agreed to leave along with other members of the public. The respondent and his counsel testified that no one on the board asked anyone to leave and that the complainant and his counsel volunteered to leave the room while other members of the public remained.

        7. It is found that the minutes do not reflect that the respondent board entered into executive session nor do the minutes reflect that the respondent board conducted its deliberations in a closed meeting.

        8. It is found that neither the complainant nor his counsel objected to leaving the meeting and therefore left the meeting voluntarily.

        9. It is concluded that the respondent did not hold a closed meeting and therefore did not violate 1-21, G.S.

        10. At the hearing on this matter, the complainant argued that the respondent board failed to reduce to writing the votes taken at the August 19, 1998, meeting within forty-eight hours as the FOI Act requires and that the respondents may not have filed the minutes of the August 19, 1998 meeting within the statutory period of time.

        11. It is found that the complainant’s letter of complaint, more fully described in paragraph 2, above, does not include the allegations described in paragraph 10, above.

        12. It is therefore concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the allegations described in paragraph 10, above.

        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 January 27, 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:

 

Perry Taylor

c/o Atty. Timothy J. Lee

Fasano & Ippolito

388 Orange Street

New Haven, CT 06511

Peter J. Fresina, Chairman,

Building Board of Appeals,

Town of Wallingford;

George Cotter; John Prophet,

Anthony Roy, as members of

the Building Board of Appeals,

Town of Wallingford; and

Building Board of Appeals,

Town of Wallingford

c/o Atty. Gerald E. Farrell, Sr.

Assistant Town Attorney

45 South Main Street

Wallingford, CT 06492

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-314FD/mrb02011999