FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Sherry Didsbury and The Terryville/Plymouth Community News,

  Complainants  
  against Docket #FIC 2004-091

Police Commission, Town

of Plymouth,

 
  Respondent September 8, 2004
       

   

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 1, 2004, at which time the complainants appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The respondent failed to appear at the hearing in this matter.  For purposes of hearing, the above captioned matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2004-061, Sherry Didsbury and the Terryville/Plymouth Community News v. Police Commission, Town of Plymouth.

 

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 e-mail dated and filed on February 20, 2004, the complainants appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by conducting its February 18, 2004 special meeting with an agenda that was not specific, lacked detail and listed old business and new business as items for discussion.

 

3.      At the hearing on this matter, the complainants explained that the respondent used the same agenda for its special meeting that it uses for its regular meetings and argued that such agenda lacks the detail and specificity required for special meeting agendas under the FOI Act.  The complainants also contended that the respondent improperly held discussions regarding the use of stop signs, a speed trailer, or a police cruiser to control speed of traffic on certain streets under the agenda item “traffic authority business.”

 

4.      It is found that the respondent held a special meeting on February 18, 2004.

 

5.      It is found that the agenda, in relevant part, listed “old business”, “new business” and “traffic authority business” as items for discussion.

 

6.      It is found that there was no discussion or business conducted under the agenda items “old business” or “new business” at the February 18, 2004 special meeting.

 

7.      It is also found that a discussion regarding the use of stop signs, speed trailer, or a police cruiser to control speed of traffic on certain streets was held under the agenda item “traffic authority business” at the February 18, 2004 special meeting.

 

8.      Section 1-225(d), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

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 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.

 

9.      This Commission has determined in prior cases that all matters on an agency’s agenda must be sufficiently specific so that the public is fairly apprised of the matters to be considered at the meeting in question.

 

10.   With respect to the agenda items “old business” and “new business”, it is found that, generally, the respondent would have had to vote to add to its agenda any business it wished to conduct under those items.  However, adding business to the agenda of a special meeting is not permitted pursuant to 1-225(d), G.S., and because the respondent’s February 18, 2004 meeting was a special meeting, the respondent would not have been permitted to add to the agenda for that meeting. 

 

11.   However, as found in paragraph 6, above, the respondent did not conduct any business under those agenda items and it is concluded, therefore, that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act by simply having those items listed on the agenda.

 

12.   With respect to the business conducted under the agenda item “traffic authority business”, it is found that the discussion described in paragraph 7, above, was of the type customarily held under that agenda item at prior meetings of the respondent.

 

13.   It is also found that the discussion described in paragraph 7, above, was of the type that would reasonably be expected under such an agenda item because a discussion regarding how to control traffic by use of stop signs, traffic lights, or a police cruiser, can reasonably be considered “traffic authority business.”

 

14.   It is found that the agenda item “traffic authority business” fairly apprised the public of the matters to be considered at the February 18, 2004 special meeting under that item.

 

15.   It is concluded therefore that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainants.

 

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 September 8, 2004.

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

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:

 

            Sherry Didsbury and The

Terryville/Plymouth Community

News

52 Prospect Street

Terryville, CT 06786

 

Police Commission,

Town of Plymouth

80 Main Street

Terryville, CT 06786

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

FIC/2004-091FD/paj/9/10/2004