FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Stephanie Reitz and
The Hartford Courant,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1999-071
Superintendent of Schools, Glastonbury
Public Schools; and Board of Education,
Glastonbury Public Schools,
Respondents August 25, 1999

         The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 13, 1999 at which time the complainants 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 of complaint dated and filed on February 19, 1999, the complainant, appealed to the Commission alleging that sometime between February 8 and 16, 1999, the respondents violated the open meetings provisions of the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to hold a public meeting, discussion and vote, and prepare minutes, regarding the State Elections Enforcement Commission’s "Agreement Containing Consent Order", (hereinafter "proposed agreement") in connection with a violation of 9-369b, G.S.

        3. Section 1-200(2), G.S., (formerly 1-18a(2), G.S.), provides in relevant part:

"Meeting" 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.

        4. It is found that sometime between February 8 and 16, 1999, the respondents, discussed by telephone whether to accept or reject the proposed agreement. During such telephone discussions, the respondents agreed to accept the proposed agreement.

        5. It is found that the underlying issue addressed by the State Elections Enforcement Commission in the proposed agreement was the conduct of the respondents, in carrying out their official roles, as Superintendent of Schools and members of the Board of Education.

        6. It is found that the conduct of the respondents, in carrying out their official roles as Superintendent of Schools and members of the Board of Education, is a matter over which the respondent board has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power, within the meaning of 1-200(2), G.S., (formerly 1-18a(2), G.S.).

        7. It is also found that the telephone discussions described in paragraph 4, above, constitute "communication by and to a quorum of a multimember public agency", within the meaning of 1-200(2), G.S., (formerly 1-18a(2), G.S.).

        8. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondents violated 1-225(a), G.S., (formerly 1-21(a), G.S.) when they failed to conduct the telephone discussions, described in paragraph 4, above, in accordance with the FOI Act’s open meetings provisions.

        9. No deliberate intent on the part of the respondents to circumvent the FOI Act is found.

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

        1. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the open meetings requirements of 1-225(a), G.S., (formerly 1-21(a), G.S.).

        2. None of the findings and conclusions in this decision shall be used as the basis for imposing civil penalties against the respondents in this or any subsequent complaint.

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

August 25, 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:

 

Stephanie Reitz and
The Hartford Courant
200 Adams Street
Manchester, CT 06040
Superintendent of Schools,
Glastonbury Public Schools;
and Board of Education,
Glastonbury Public Schools
c/o Atty. Richard Voigt
Cummings & Lockwood
185 Asylum Street
Hartford, CT 06103-3495
 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-071FD/mrb/08261999