FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
James Kalkowski,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1999-123
Police Commission, Town of Hamden,
Respondents July 14, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 4, 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S. (formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.).

        2. By letter dated March 11, 1999, and filed on March 15, 1999, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act on March 10, 1999 by permitting an assistant town attorney and the chief of police to remain in attendance throughout two executive sessions. The complainant asked that the votes taken as a result of such sessions be declared null and void. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant also requested the imposition of a civil penalty.

        3. Section 1-231(a), G.S. (formerly 1-21g(a), G.S.), provides:

At an executive session of a public agency, attendance shall be limited to members of said body and persons invited by said body to present testimony or opinion pertinent to matters before said body provided that such persons' attendance shall be limited to the period for which their presence is necessary to present such testimony or opinion and, provided further, that the minutes of such executive session shall disclose all persons who are in attendance except job applicants who attend for the purpose of being interviewed by such agency. [Emphasis added.]

        4. It is found that the respondent held a meeting on March 10, 1999 during which it held two executive sessions for the purpose of interviewing candidates for promotion to lieutenant and sergeant.

        5. It is found that those in attendance during the first executive session described in paragraph 4, above, were the members of the respondent, an assistant town attorney, the police chief, and the person being interviewed for the position of lieutenant. It is further found that, after returning to the public portion of the March 10, 1999, meeting, the respondent voted to immediately promote an individual to lieutenant.

        6. It is found that those in attendance during the second executive session described in paragraph 4, above, were the members of the respondent, an assistant town attorney, the police chief, and the person being interviewed position of sergeant. It is further found that, after returning to the public portion of the March 10, 1999, meeting, the respondent voted to promote two individuals to sergeant, such promotions to take effect on March 11, 1999, and March 12, 1999.

        7. It is found that the attendance of the assistant town attorney and the police chief at the executive sessions described in paragraphs 5 and 6, above, was not limited to the period for which their presence was necessary to present testimony or opinion within the meaning of 1-231(a), G.S. (formerly 1-21g(a), G.S.).

        8. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-231(a), G.S. (formerly 1-21g(a), G.S.), when it permitted the assistant town attorney and the chief of police to remain in attendance at the executive sessions described in paragraph 4, above, for the duration of such sessions.

        9. The Commission in its discretion declines to declare null and void the votes described in paragraphs 5 and 6, above. The Commission also declines to impose a civil penalty.

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

        1. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the executive session provisions of 1-231(a), G.S. (formerly 1-21g(a), G.S.).

  

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

July 14, 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:

 

James Kalkowski
34 Highland Drive
North Haven, CT 06473
Police Commission,
Town of Hamden
c/o Atty. Nicholas M. Troiano
Assistant Town Attorney
Memorial Town Hall
Hamden, CT 06518
 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-123FD/mrb/07191999