FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Glenda Lobb and Janos Lobb,  
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-521

Board of Education,

Oxford Public Schools,

 
  Respondent September 12, 2007
       

            

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 16, 2007, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The complaint was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2006-526, Glenda Lobb and Janos Lobb v. Board of Education, Oxford 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 filed October 3, 2006, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by convening in executive session for an impermissible purpose.

 

3.  It is found that the respondent held a regular meeting on September 5, 2006.

 

4.  It is found that the respondent convened in executive session for the stated purpose of discussing personnel and staffing.

 

5.  It is found that the complainants had sought from the respondent an explanation for their son’s omission from certain school awards.

 

6.  It is found that the respondent indicated to the complainants, before convening in executive session on September 5, 2006, that the awards issue would be discussed in executive session.

 

7.  It is found that the respondents discussed in executive session, among other matters not at issue, the matter raised by the complainants concerning the omission of their son from certain awards.  Specifically, the respondent discussed the existing policy concerning student awards, and how its staff had applied that policy.

 

8.  It is also found that, following the executive session, the respondent communicated to the complainants by letter dated September 18, 2006 that the respondent “met in Executive Session … to discuss the criteria for Great Oak Middle School awards, to review correspondence and discuss staff response to this situation.”

 

9.  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.”

 

10.  Section 1-200(6), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

“Executive sessions” means 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  …. 

 

11.  It is found that the respondent failed to prove that the performance, evaluation or employment of any individual staff member of the respondent was discussed in executive session, or that any individual staff member was notified that his or her performance, evaluation or employment would be discussed in executive session.

 

12.  It is concluded that the respondent failed to prove that it discussed the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public employee within the meaning of 1-200(6), G.S.

 

13.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-225(a), G.S., by convening an executive session for an improper purpose.

 

 

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 strictly comply with the requirements of 1-225(a) and 1-200(6), G.S.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 12, 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:

 

Glenda Lobb and Janos Lobb

44 Rolling Hills Drive

Oxford, CT 06478

 

Board of Education,

Oxford Public Schools

c/o Donald F. Houston, Esq.

Durant, Nichols, Houston, Hodgson &

Cortese-Costa, P.C.

1057 Broad Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604-4219

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2006-521FD/paj/9/13/2007