FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Sarah King, Kenneth Kirkman,

Rodney A. Pinkham, Jr., G. Brian

Vachris, and George White,

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-344

Board of Education, Waterford

Public Schools,

 
  Respondent  June 8, 2005
       

 

          The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 14, 2005, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  Prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondent moved to dismiss the complaint without a hearing, pursuant to 1-206(b)(4), G.S., alleging that the complaint does not state a violation of the Freedom of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act.  The hearing officer denied such motion.   

         

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 July 25, 2004, and filed on August 2, 2004, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the FOI Act by not providing adequate notice on its agenda for a July 8, 2004 special meeting that it would vote to hire a human resources director.  The complainants requested that the action taken at the July 8, 2004 meeting regarding the hiring of such director be declared null and void. 

 

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

 

[n]otice of each special meeting of every public agency … 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….

 

4.  It is found that the respondent held a special meeting on July 8, 2004, and that the notice of such meeting listed, among other items, “Interview with Superintendent’s Recommended Candidate for Human Resources Director (BOE enclosure)”. 

 

5.  It is found that at its July 8, 2004, special meeting, the respondent interviewed the superintendent’s recommended candidate for human resources director in open session, and then voted to hire such candidate in open session.

 

6.  The complainants contend that the notice of the special meeting as described in paragraph 4, above, did not give the public adequate notice that the respondent would hire a human resources director on July 8, 2004.  The respondent contends that it was implicit in the listed agenda item that the respondent might act upon the interview, and hire the superintendent’s candidate on July 8, 2004. 

 

7.  The Commission finds that the agenda item described in paragraph 4, above did not sufficiently specify the business to be transacted, namely, the hiring of a human resources director, within the meaning of 1-225(d), G.S.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent technically violated 1-225(d), G.S., as alleged in the complaint. 

 

8.   Based upon the facts and circumstances of this case, the Commission declines to declare null and void the action taken at the July 8, 2004 special meeting, wherein the respondent hired a human resources director.    

 

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 comply with the provisions of 1-225(d), G.S. 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 8, 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:

 

Sarah King

27 Palmer Road

Waterford, CT 06385

 

Kenneth Kirkman

344 Great Neck Road

Waterford, CT 06385

 

Rodney A. Pinkham, Jr.

23 Jordan Terrace

Waterford, CT 06385

 

G. Brian Vachris

27 Soljer Drive

Waterford, CT 06385

 

George White

96 Shore Road

Waterford, CT 06385

 

Board of Education,

Waterford Public Schools

c/o Victor Schoen, Esq.

646 Prospect Avenue

Hartford, CT 06105-4286

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-344FD/paj/6/9/2005