FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Richard Guinness and the
Middletown Press,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-322
Planning and Zoning Commission,
City of Middletown; and the City
of Middletown,
Respondents March 10, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 7, 1999, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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. It is found that on September 29, 1998, the complainant attempted to attend a meeting listed as a 2 p.m. meeting of Planning and Zoning on a schedule of municipal building meetings filed with the town clerk and that the director of the Planning and Zoning office informed the complainant that the meeting was not open to the public and the complainant was not allowed to attend the meeting.

        3. By letter dated September 29, 1998, and filed on October 19, 1998, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by not allowing him to attend the meeting described in paragraph 2, above.

        4. Section 1-21(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that "[t]he meetings of all public agencies . . . shall be open to the public. . ."

        5. Section 1-18a(2), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

"[m]eeting" 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.

        6. Section 1-18a(2), G.S., also provides in relevant part that a " ‘[m]eeting’ shall not include: . . . an administrative or staff meeting of a single-member public agency."

        7. It is found that the schedule described in paragraph 2, above, was a room reservation list and not a notice of a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and was not filed with the town clerk by the respondent commission.

        8. It is found that the director of the Planning and Zoning office scheduled the meeting between members of his staff and representatives of Summerset Plastic Company to discuss the company’s plans to relocate to the Middletown area and that the meeting would have been held in the director’s office but for the lack of sufficient space.

        9. It is also found that the meeting described in paragraph 8, above, was an administrative or staff meeting within the meaning of 1-18a(2), G.S., and is excluded from the meeting definition of 1-18a(2), G.S.

        10. It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the complainant’s rights 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. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 10, 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:

 

Richard Guinness and
the Middletown Press
Two Main Street
Middletown, CT 06457
Planning and Zoning
Commission, City of
Middletown; and the
City of Middletown
c/o Atty. Timothy P. Lynch
Deputy City Attorney
PO Box 1300
245 deKoven Drive
Middletown, CT 06457

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-322FD/mrb03111999