FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Donald P. Hassinger,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-146

Board of Education,

Regional School District 14,

 
  Respondent February 28, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 29, 2006, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purpose of hearing, the above-captioned case was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2006-166; Tom Arras v. Debbie Corsico, Chairperson, Board of Education, Regional School District 14; and Board of Education, Regional School District 14.

 

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 March 29, 2006, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to file notice of its March 28, 2006 public hearing.

 

3.      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 each municipal member for any multitown district or agency.  The . . . clerk shall cause any notice received under this section to be posted in his office. 

 

4.      It is found that on March 28, 2006, the respondent held a public hearing on a proposal to allocate approximately 37 million dollars to renovate Regional School District 14’s four schools. 

 

5.      It is found that the respondent’s public hearing described in paragraph 4, above, was a special meeting within the meaning of 1-225(d), G.S.

 

6.      It is found that the respondent was advised, by its legal counsel, that the notice and agenda for the special meeting described in paragraph 4, above, had to be filed with certain additional documents in the town clerk’s office five days prior to the date of the meeting.

 

7.      It is found that the respondent compiled the required documents, the last two pages of which were the notice and agenda for the March 28, 2006 special meeting, and filed them with the town clerks of Woodbury and Bethlehem, which are the towns served by Regional School District 14. 

 

8.      It is found that each clerk signed and dated the second page of the documents described in paragraph 7, above, with a date of March 23, 2006.

 

9.      It is further found, therefore, that the respondent filed the notice and agenda for its March 28, 2006 special meeting with the town clerks in Woodbury and Bethlehem on March 23, 2006, more than twenty-four hours prior to that meeting, and thereby complied with the notice provisions of 1-225(d), G.S., in that regard.

 

10.   It is found, however, that the respondent did not inform the clerks that the notice and agenda were included in the documents described in paragraph 7, above, but rather assumed that the clerks would review the documents and realize that a notice and agenda for the special meeting was included and post it accordingly.

 

11.    It is found, however, that the clerks did not realize that the notice and agenda for the respondent’s March 28, 2006 special meeting were included in the documents described in paragraph 7, above, and therefore, they did not post it.

 

12.   It is found that the respondents were not aware that the notice and agenda for the March 28, 2006 special meeting was not posted until after that meeting began.

 

13.   It is concluded, however, that, pursuant to 1-225(d), G.S., the town clerk is responsible for posting notices of special meetings under the FOI Act.

 

14.   Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged by the complainant.

 

15.   Not withstanding the finding in paragraph 14, above, it is found that although the respondent board believed that the March 28, 2006 hearing was properly noticed, it scheduled and held another hearing on the matter on April 6, 2006. 

 

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 February 28, 2007.

 

________________________________

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:

 

Donald P. Hassinger

142 Hazel Plain Road

Woodbury, CT 06798

 

Board of Education,

Regional School District 14

c/o William R. Connon, Esq.

646 Prospect Avenue

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-146FD/paj/3/5/2007