FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Charles M. Watts,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1999-003

Chairman, Police Commission, Town of Hamden;

and Police Commission, Town of Hamden,

 

 

Respondents

June 9, 1999

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 16, 1999 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 1-200(1), G.S., (formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.).

 

2.  By letter dated December 30, 1998, and filed on January 4, 1999, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent commission violated the Freedom of Information Act on December 7, 1998 by convening in executive session without clearly stating the purpose for such executive session.

 

3.  It is found that the respondent commission held a special meeting on December 7, 1998 during which it held an executive session and discussed matters pertaining to the format for interviews and whether there was time to review candidates’ files (“executive session”).

 

4.  Section 1-225(a), G.S., (formerly 1-21(a), G.S.), provides, in relevant part:

 

A public agency may hold an executive session as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, 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.

5.  Section 1-200(6), G.S., (formerly 1-18a(6), G.S.), defines executive session to include:

 

(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.  [Emphasis added.]

 

6.  It is found that prior to convening in executive session the respondent commission stated the reason for such session as “personnel matters”.

 

7.  It is found that the discussion held in the executive session was not proper because the respondent commission did not discuss “a public officer or employee” within the meaning of 1-200(6)(A), (formerly 1-18a(6)(A), G.S.), but rather the respondent commission conducted a general discussion about the format of interviews and review of files.

 

8.  Further, in keeping with Commission precedent, it is concluded that “personnel matters” does not sufficiently state the reason for an executive session being convened pursuant to 1-200(6)(A), (formerly 1-18a(6)(A), G.S.).

 

9.  It is therefore, concluded that the respondent commission violated 1-200(6)(A), (formerly 1-18a(6)(A), G.S.), and 1-225(a), G.S., (formerly 1-21(a), G.S.), when it discussed in executive session a matter not proper for executive session.

 

 

            The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

1.  Henceforth, the respondent commission shall strictly comply with the executive session provisions of 1-200(6)(A), (formerly 1-18a(6)(A), G.S.), and 1-225(a), G.S., (formerly 1-21(a), G.S.).

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of

June 9, 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:

 

 

Charles M. Watts

c/o Atty. Angelica N. Papastavros

51 Elm Street, Suite 409

New Haven, CT  06510

 

Chairman, Police Commission,

Town of Hamden; and Police

Commission, Town of Hamden

c/o Atty. Nicholas M. Troiano

Hamden Town Attorney

2372 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT  06518

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-003FD/mrb/06141999