FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Louis Annino Sr.,
  Complainant  
  against Docket #FIC 2003-443
Board of Selectmen, Town of Killingworth,  
  Respondent  July 28, 2004
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 17, 2004, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared 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.

 

2.  By letter of complaint, dated December 9, 2003 and filed on December 12, 2003, the complainant appealed, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by holding a meeting on November 21, 2003, without giving notice of such meeting to him or to the public.

 

3.  It is found that on the morning of Friday November 21, 2003, a group of persons consisting of the town of Killingworth’s (“town”) First Selectman, Selectman Charles Morgan, interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Goldman, Building Committee chairman Kjell Tollefson and Building Official Richard Leighton met at the town hall and discussed certain issues pertaining to concerns that the Building Committee and the Building Official had in connection with the building of a proposed new elementary school in Killingworth. 

 

4.  The complainant on the one hand contends that the meeting described in paragraph 3, above, should have been publicly noticed and open to the public.  He contends further that because he was not aware of the meeting he did not get the opportunity to attend.  The respondent on the other hand, contends that the meeting on November 21, 2003, does not constitute a “meeting”, within the meaning of 1-200(2), G.S.

 

5.  Section 1-225(a), G.S., in relevant part, provides, that: “[t]he meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, shall be open to the public.”

 

6.  Section 1-200(2), G.S., further provides that: “ ‘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 … to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.”

 

7.  It is found that the respondent is a multimember public agency, consisting of three members, and that two members of the respondent, comprising a quorum, convened or assembled on November 21, 2003.

 

8.  It is also found that the discussions that took place at the November 21, 2003 meeting constitute communication among a quorum of the respondent, and concerned substantive issues over which the respondent, as the governing body of the town, has “supervision and advisory power”, within the meaning of 1-200(2), G.S.  It is further found that the discussions that took place at such meeting do not fall within any of the exclusions to the  “meeting” definition as set forth in 1-200(2), G.S.

 

9.  It is therefore, concluded that the November 21, 2003 meeting and discussions described in paragraphs 3, 7 and 8 above, constituted a “meeting,” as defined in 1-200(2), G.S., and consequently, the respondent violated 1-225(a), G.S., by failing to hold such meeting in a manner that was open to the public.

 

10.  It is also concluded that such meeting was a special meeting within the meaning of 1-225(d), G.S., which provides, in relevant part:          

           

Notice of each special meeting of every public agency…shall be given not less than twenty-four hours prior to the time of such meeting by filing a notice of the time and place thereof … in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision of the state …  The … clerk shall cause any notice received under this section to be posted in his office… The notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted.  No other business shall be considered at such meetings by such public agency.  In addition, such written notice shall be delivered to the usual place of abode of each member of the public agency so that the same is received prior to such special meeting.  The requirement of delivery of such written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who at or prior to the time the meeting convenes files with the clerk or secretary of the public agency a written waiver of delivery of such notice.  Such waiver may be given by telegram.  The requirement of delivery of such written notice may also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any agency from adopting more stringent notice requirements.  [Emphasis added].

 

11.  It is found that the respondent failed to file notice of the November 21, 2003 meeting with the clerk as required by 1-225(d), G.S.   It is also found that the complainant in this matter is a member of the respondent board.  It is further found that the respondent failed to provide the required notice to the complainant of the November 21, 2003 meeting within the meaning of 1-225(d), G.S.

 

12.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-225(d), G.S., when it failed to provide notice to the town clerk and to the complainant of the November 21, 2003 meeting.

 

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 open meetings and notice provisions as set forth in 1-200(2) and 1-225, G.S.

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 28, 2004.

 

 

___________________________________

Ann B. Gimmartino

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:

 

Louis Annino, Sr.

294 Route 148

Killingworth, CT  06419

 

Board of Selectmen,

Town of Killingworth

c/o William Howard, Esq.

Howard, McMillan & D’Aquila

386 Main Street

Middletown, CT  06457

 

 

___________________________________

Ann B. Gimmartino

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

FIC/2003-443/FD/abg/07/29/2004