FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Michelle Russo,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-369

Board of Education, Wallingford

Public Schools,

 
  Respondent February 28, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 30, 2006, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  This matter was consolidated for hearing with docket #FIC 2006-368, Michelle Russo v. Board of Education, Wallingford Public Schools and docket #FIC 2006-398, Wesley S. Lubee, Jr. v. Board of Education, Wallingford Public Schools.

 

 

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 18, 2006, and filed on July 20, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent took action in executive session on July 17, 2006, in violation of the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act.

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

 

The meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions, as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, shall be open to the public.

 

4.  Section 1-200(6), G.S., defines “executive session” to mean:

 

a meeting of a public agency at which the public is excluded for one or more of the following purposes: …(A) Discussion concerning the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that such individual may require that discussion be held at an open meeting…[Emphasis added].

 

5.  It is found that the respondent’s agenda for its July 17, 2006, special meeting indicated the following in relevant part:

 

“EXECUTIVE SESSION

E.1  Discussion of Candidates for Teaching Positions and Athletic Director Position

 

2.  APPROVAL OF APPOINTMENT OF CANDIDATES TO TEACHING POSITIONS AND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR”

 

6.  It is found that the respondent conducted a special meeting on July 17, 2006, and voted to enter executive session.

 

7.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant maintained that the respondent took action during the executive session on July 17, 2006, in violation of the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act, by reaching a consensus not to renew an employment contract with Kenneth V. Henrici, Superintendent, Wallingford Public Schools (hereinafter “the superintendent”).

 

8.  It is found that that no action or consensus was reached regarding the superintendent by the respondent board during the July 17, 2006, executive session.

 

9.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-225(a), G.S., regarding such meeting, as alleged by the complainant.

   

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:

 

Michelle Russo

16 Doherty Drive

Wallingford, CT 06492

 

Board of Education, Wallingford

Public Schools

c/o Peter A. Janus, Esq.

150 Trumbull Street

Hartford, CT 06103

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-369FD/paj/3/2/2007