FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Paul R. Neugebauer,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-400

Civil Service Commission,

City of Bridgeport,

 
  Respondent April 13, 2005
       

  

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 2, 2005 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.

 

2.  By letter dated August 27, 2004, and filed on September 1, 2004, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act on August 10, 2004 by permitting an attorney for the city of Bridgeport, John Mitola, to remain in attendance at an executive session regarding the complainant’s appeal beyond the time necessary for such attendance.  The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties in this matter.  However, by letter dated September 28, 2004, and filed with the Commission on October 1, 2004, the complainant withdrew his request for civil penalties and instead requested that action taken with respect to him at the August 10, 2004 meeting of the respondent be declared null and void. 

 

3.     Section 1-231(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.

       

4.  It is found that the complainant filed an appeal with the respondent commission regarding a temporary demotion.   It is further found that the respondent conducted a meeting on August 10, 2004, and that during such meeting’s open session, the members of the respondent engaged in a discussion regarding whether or not the respondent had jurisdiction to hear the complainant’s appeal on such evening.  It is further found that the respondent concluded that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the complainant’s appeal at such time, and that the respondent took no action on August 10, 2004, with respect thereto.

 

5.   It is found that the respondent did not discuss the complainant in executive session on August 10, 2004.  Therefore, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act as alleged in the complaint. 

 

6.  The Commission notes that the respondent did conduct an executive session during the August 10, 2004 meeting, at which members discussed a personnel matter not involving the complainant.  It is further noted that John Mitola, an attorney with the Office of the Bridgeport City Attorney, was present during the entirety of such session at the request of the respondent commission, so that he could provide legal opinion on the matter that was discussed therein.   It is also noted Mr. Mitola’s presence was necessary for the period of such executive session but that his presence in such session is not reflected in the minutes of the August 10, 2004, meeting.

 

        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. 

 

  2.  The Commission recommends that the respondent amend its minutes of August 10, 2004, to reflect the fact that Mr. Mitola was present in the executive session described in paragraph 6 of the findings, above, in accordance with the provisions of  1-231(a), G.S.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 13, 2005.

 

________________________________

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:

 

Paul R. Neugebauer

35 Batt Lane

West Haven, CT 06516

 

Civil Service Commission,

City of Bridgeport

c/o John H. Barton, Esq.

Associate City Attorney

999 Broad Street, 2nd floor

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-400FD/paj/4/14/2005