FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
John J. Cassidy,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2005-160

Inland Wetlands and Watercourses

Commission, Town of Plainville,

 
  Respondent October 26, 2005
       

 

          The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 20, 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 of complaint dated April 7, 2005, and filed on April 8, 2005, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act by not providing adequate notice on its agenda for a March 16, 2005 special meeting.  

 

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 March 16, 2005, and that the notice of such meeting listed, among other items, “discussion of minute taking”.   

 

5.  It is found that, at its March 16, 2005, special meeting, the members of the respondent discussed procedures for the taking of minutes in the future, including the practice of stamping “unapproved” on draft minutes, the time in which minutes need be made available, how to properly revise minutes, the level of detail required in minutes, the form of minutes, and whether verbatim transcripts of meetings should be made available. 

 

6.  At the hearing in this matter and in his complaint, the complainant contended that the discussion described in paragraph 5, above, went beyond a discussion of minute-taking, and that it was actually a discussion of policies and procedures regarding minute- taking.  It is found that the complainant’s allegation and contentions, as described herein, are specious. 

 

7.  It is found that the agenda item described in paragraph 4, above, specified the business to be transacted, within the meaning of 1-225(d), G.S.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-225(d), G.S., as alleged in the complaint. 

 

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 parties are advised that 1-206(b)(2), G.S., in relevant part provides that “[i]f the commission finds that a person has taken an appeal under this subsection frivolously, without reasonable grounds and solely for the purpose of harassing the agency from which the appeal has been taken, after such person has been given an opportunity to be heard at a hearing conducted in accordance with sections 4-176e to 4-184, inclusive, the commission may, in its discretion, impose against that person a civil penalty of not less than twenty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars….”      

 

3.  The parties are further advised that 1-206(b)(2), G.S., in relevant part provides also that “[i]f the executive director of the commission has reason to believe an appeal under subdivision (1) of this subsection or subsection (c) of this section…would perpetrate an injustice; or …would constitute an abuse of the commission's administrative process, the executive director shall not schedule the appeal for hearing without first seeking and obtaining leave of the commission…”      

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 26, 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:

 

John J. Cassidy

Seven Florence Lane

Plainville, CT 06062

 

Inland Wetlands and Watercourses

Commission, Town of Plainville

c/o Richard M. Seguljic, Esq.

128 East Street

Plainville, CT 06062

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2005-160FD/paj/10/27/2005