FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Halina Trelski,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2007-098

Board of Education,

Middletown Public Schools,

 
  Respondents September 26, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 30, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2007-097, Halina Trelski v. Board of Education, Middletown Public Schools; Docket #FIC 2007-118, Halina Trelski v. Board of Education, Middletown Public Schools; Docket #FIC 2007-119, Halina Trelski v. Board of Education, Middletown Public Schools; and Docket #FIC 2007-138, Halina Trelski v. Policy Committee, Board of Education, Middletown 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)(A), G.S.

 

2.      By letter dated February 9, 2007 and filed on February 13, 2007, and by an additional letter dated March 15, 2007 and filed on March 20, 2007, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by failing to provide proper notice that its January 9, 2007 regular meeting would be held in the high school.

 

3.      Section 1-225(b), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[t]he chairperson or secretary of any … public agency … shall file, not later than January thirty-first of each year, with the clerk of such subdivision the schedule of regular meetings of the public agency for the ensuing year, and no such meeting of any such public agency shall be held sooner than thirty days after such schedule has been filed.”

 

4.      It is found that on January 12, 2006, the respondent filed with the town clerk the schedule of dates for regular meetings of the respondent for January 2006 through January 2007.  It is further found on August 24, 2006, that the respondent filed with the town clerk the schedule of dates for regular meetings of the respondent for January 2007 through June 2007.

 

5.      It is found that both the schedule of dates for regular meetings filed January 12, 2006, and the schedule of dates for regular meetings filed August 24, 2006, state that the location of the meetings was the city’s administration building.

 

6.      It is found that on the day and time of the January 9, 2007 regular meeting of the respondent, the complainant went to the city’s administration building in order to attend the meeting, but discovered that the meeting was not there.

 

7.      At the hearing on this matter, the complainant testified that she did not see any sign posted at the administration building indicating the location of the meeting. It is found, however, that on January 9, 2007, the superintendent’s assistant posted a sign on the door of the administration building indicating the new location of the meeting.

 

8.      The complainant further testified that she went to the high school’s auditorium and its immediate vicinity to see whether she could find the meeting, but was not successful.

 

9.      It is found that the January 9, 2007 meeting was held in the library/media center at the high school and that all meetings of the respondent have been held at that location since November 2006, in order to facilitate recording the proceedings.

 

10.   At the hearing in this matter, the respondent submitted as evidence a letter to the town clerk, dated October 16, 2006, stating that the meeting of the respondent scheduled for November 14, 2006, would take place at the library/media center of the high school.

 

11.   It is found that the respondent filed with the town clerk, by facsimile transmission on January 10, 2007, the 2007 schedule of regular meetings for the respondent. It is further found that the schedule, which begins with the January 9, 2007 meeting, states the meetings’ location as library/media center of the city’s high school.

 

12.   It is found that the schedule of regular meetings of the respondent filed January 10, 2007 with the town clerk was filed one day after the respondent’s meeting of January 9, 2007.

 

13.   It is concluded that the schedule of regular meetings filed on January 10, 2007 did not satisfy notice requirements under the FOI Act for the respondent’s regular meeting of January 9, 2007.

 

14.    It is found that the actual location of the January 9, 2007 meeting of the respondent was not the noticed location indicated on the schedules of January 12, 2006 and August 24, 2006, which were the only schedules of regular meetings of the respondent filed at least thirty days before the meeting.

 

15.    It is concluded that the January 9, 2007 meeting of the respondent did not satisfy notice requirements for a regular meeting under the FOI Act.

 

16.    It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent’s January 9, 2007 meeting constituted a special meeting.

 

17.    Section 1-225(d), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[n]otice 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  [the municipality].”

 

18.    At the hearing in this matter, the respondent did not submit evidence, and therefore failed to prove, that it filed proper and timely notice of the January 9, 2007 special meeting with the office of the clerk of the city.

 

19.    It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-225(d), G.S., by failing to file proper notice that the January 9, 2007 meeting was to be held in the library/media center of the town’s high school.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1.      Forthwith, the respondent shall strictly adhere to the notice requirements of 1-225, G.S.

 

 

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

 

Halina Trelski

49 Summer Hill Road

Middletown, CT 06457

 

Board of Education,

Middletown Public Schools

c/o Rebecca R. Santiago, Esq.

Shipman & Goodwin LLP

One Constitution Plaza

Hartford, CT 06103-1919

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2007-098FD/paj/10/1/2007