FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Cecil Young and Patricia Young,  
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-197

Mayor, City of Bridgeport,

and City of Bridgeport,

 
  Respondents January 14, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 26, 2008, at which time the complainants and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

2.      It is found that, by letter dated March 14, 2008, the complainants made a request to the respondents for copies of the following:

a.       Agendas of the city of Bridgeport Ethics Commission meetings, from January 2005 to present;

 

b.      Minutes of the public sessions of the city of Bridgeport Ethics Commission meetings, from January 2005 to present, and

 

c.       Minutes of the executive sessions of the city of Bridgeport Ethics Commission meetings, from January 2005 to present.

3.      By letter dated March 22, 2008, and filed on March 24, 2008, the complainants appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to comply with the request described in paragraph 2, above.

4.   At the hearing in this matter, the complainants stated that the respondents had provided them with the records described in paragraphs 2.a and 2.b, above, and that therefore, they wished to withdraw their complaint as it relates to such records.  Accordingly, it is found that the records described in paragraphs 2.a and 2.b, above, are no longer at issue, and therefore, shall not be further considered herein. 

5.  At the hearing on this matter, the respondents stipulated that they maintain records responsive to the request described in paragraph 2.c., above (the “requested records”), but argued that such records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-82a  and 1-200(6), G.S., in that they describe “exonerated complaints” and “appointments to boards and committees.”

6.  At the conclusion of the hearing in this matter, the hearing officer ordered the respondents to submit the requested records to the Commission for an in camera inspection.  It is found that the records submitted to the Commission consist of minutes of the executive sessions of the meetings of the Bridgeport Ethics Commission (the “ethics commission”), from March 2005 through March 2008,[1] except for the minutes of the executive session of the ethics commission’s August 8, 2007 meeting.

7.   On October 30, 2008, the hearing officer ordered the respondents to submit for an in camera inspection the minutes of the executive session of the ethics commission’s August 8, 2007 meeting.  Such records were submitted to the Commission on November 7, 2008.  On the index to such in camera records, the respondents claim that portions of such minutes are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-82a, and 1-210(b)(10), G.S.   

8.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:

“Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

9.      Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to . . .  receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

10.     Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.” 

11.   It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S, and must be disclosed in accordance with 1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure. 

12. With regard to the respondents’ 1-82a, G.S., claim of exemption, Public Act 89-229 amended 7-148h, G.S., to make the provisions of subsections (a) through (e), inclusive, of 1-82a, G.S., apply to an investigation of allegations of ethical misconduct brought before a municipal ethics commission.

13.  Section 1-82a(b), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]n investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding shall be confidential except upon the request of the respondent.”

14.   Section 1-82a(d), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

If the [ethics] commission makes a finding of no probable cause, the complaint and the record of its investigation shall remain confidential, except upon the request of the respondent and except that some or all of the record may be used in subsequent proceedings.

 

            15.  It is found that the ethics commission is a municipal ethics commission within the meaning of 7-148h, and 1-82a, G.S.

           

16.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the March 16, 2005 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding a possible ethics violation.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

17.  It is also found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 16, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.

18.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the March 16, 2005 meeting, constitute the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Minutes, entire second paragraph.

 

19.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the April 20, 2005 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding a possible ethics violation.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

20.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 19, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.

 

21.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the April 20, 2005 meeting, constitute the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82a(b) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  second page, under Old Business, the entire paragraph.

 

22.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the May 18, 2005 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding a possible ethics violation.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

23.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 22, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.

 

24.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the May 18, 2005 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82a(b) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  line 7, the word after “the” and before the word “complaint.”

 

25.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the July 20, 2005 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding a possible ethics violation.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

26.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 25, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.

27.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the July 20, 2005 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, the entire paragraph.

 

28.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the October 19, 2005 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

29.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 28, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaint, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

30.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the October 19, 2005 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Minutes, entire second paragraph, and entire third paragraph; second page, under Voice Mail Report, line 2, the name preceding the word “called”; line 3, the word after “against”, line 4, the name after the word “told”; line 5, the word after “with”, and the name preceding the word “also”; second page, under Old Business, the name preceding the word “complaint”; second page, under New Business, the words following “by” up to the word “Advisory.”

 

31.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the November 9, 2005 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

32.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 31, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaint, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

33.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the November 9, 2005 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Minutes, entire second paragraph, entire third paragraph, and entire fourth paragraph; second page, under Old Business, first line, the name preceding the word “complaint”; the name appearing after the work “The”; second line, the names preceding the word “complaint.”

 

34.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the December 14, 2005 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

35.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 34, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaints, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

36.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the December 14, 2005 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Minutes, entire second paragraph, entire third paragraph, and entire fourth paragraph; and second page, under Old Business, entire paragraph.

 

37.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the January 11, 2006 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

38.  It is found that the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S., with regard to the complaints described in paragraph 37, above.

 

39.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the January 11, 2006 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Minutes, entire third paragraph; second page, under Old Business, entire paragraph.

 

40.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the February 8, 2006 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

41.  It is found that the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S., with regard to the complaints described in paragraph 40, above.

 

42.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the February 8, 2006 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Minutes, entire second paragraph; second page, under Old Business, the entire paragraph.

 

43.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the March 15, 2006 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

44.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 43, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made. 

 

45.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the March 15, 2006 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  second page, under Old Business, entire second paragraph.

 

46.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the April 12, 2006 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

47.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 46, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made. 

 

48.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the April 12, 2006 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire paragraph.

 

49.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the May 10, 2006 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

50.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 49, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaint, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

51.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the May 10, 2006 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  second page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph, and entire third paragraph.

 

52.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the June 14, 2006 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

53.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 52, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made. 

 

54.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the June 14, 2006 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph, and entire second paragraph.

 

55.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the August 9, 2006 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

56.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 55, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaints, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

57.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the August 9, 2006 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, line 9, beginning with the first word, through line 25.

 

58.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the March 14, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

59.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 57, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made. 

60.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the March 14, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, first paragraph.

 

61.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the April 11, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed a complaint regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaint at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

62.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of the complaint described in paragraph 61, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made. 

63.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the April 11, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire paragraph.

 

64.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the May 9, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

65.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 64, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaints, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

66.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the May 9, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire paragraph; first page, under New Business, entire first paragraph, and entire second paragraph.

 

67.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the June 13, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

68.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 67, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaints, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

69.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the June 13, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph; first page, under New Business, entire paragraph.

 

70.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the August 8, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

71.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 70, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaint, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

72.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the August 8, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph and entire second paragraph; first page, under New Business, entire paragraph.

 

73.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the September 12, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

74.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 73, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaints, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

75.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the September 12, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first line (first paragraph), and entire second paragraph; first page, under New Business, entire first paragraph, entire second paragraph and entire third paragraph.

 

76.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the October 10, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

77.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 76, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaints, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

78.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the October 10, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph, entire second paragraph, and entire third paragraph; second page, under New Business, line 2, the name after the word “against”, and line 3, beginning after the word “discussion” up to the word “There”.

 

79.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the November 14, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

80.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 79, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaint, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

81.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the November 14, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph, and entire second paragraph.

 

82.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the November 14, 2007 meeting, as amended, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

83.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 82, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaint, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

84.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the November 14, 2007 meeting, as amended, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph, and entire second paragraph.

 

85.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the December 12, 2007 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

86.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of one of the complaints described in paragraph 85, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.  It is found that, with regard to the other complaint, the ethics commission made a finding of no probable cause, within the meaning of 1-82a(d), G.S.

 

87.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the December 12, 2007 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph, entire third paragraph, entire sixth paragraph, and entire eighth paragraph.

 

88.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the January 9, 2008 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

 

89.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of each of the complaints described in paragraph 88, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.

 

90.  It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the January 9, 2008 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire first paragraph, entire second paragraph, and entire fourth paragraph.

 

91.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the March 12, 2008 meeting, it is found that, during the executive session, the ethics commission reviewed and discussed complaints regarding possible ethics violations.  It is also found that the ethics commission’s review and discussion of such complaints at such meeting, was an investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding, within the meaning of 1-82a(b), G.S.

92.  It is found that, as of the March 12, 2008 meeting of the ethics commission, the investigation of each of the complaints described in paragraph 91, above, was ongoing, and that a determination regarding probable cause had not yet been made.

93.   It is concluded that only the following portion of the minutes of the executive session of the March 12, 2008 meeting, constitutes the complaint and the record of the ethics commission’s investigation, within the meaning 1-82(a) and (d), G.S., and is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 7-148h, G.S.:  first page, under Old Business, entire second paragraph, entire third paragraph; first page (continuing onto second page), under New Business, entire second paragraph.

 

            94.  With regard to the respondents’ 1-210(b)(10), G.S. claim of exemption,[2]  such provision permits an agency to withhold from disclosure records of  “communications privileged by the attorney-client relationship.”

 

95.  The applicability of the exemption contained in 1-210(b)(10), G.S., is governed by established Connecticut law defining the privilege.  That law is well set forth in Maxwell v. FOI Commission, 260 Conn. 143 (2002).  In that case, the Supreme Court stated that 52-146r, G.S., which established a statutory privilege for communications between public agencies and their attorneys, merely codifies “the common-law attorney-client privilege as this court previously had defined it.” Id. at 149.

 

 96.  Section 52-146r(2), G.S., defines “confidential communications” as:

 

all oral and written communications transmitted in confidence between a public official or employee of a public agency acting in the performance of his or her duties or within the scope of his or her employment and a government attorney relating to legal advice sought by the public agency or a public official or employee of such public agency from that attorney, and all records prepared by the government attorney in furtherance of the rendition of such legal advice. . . .

 

97.  The Supreme Court has also stated that “both the common-law and statutory privileges protect those communications between a public official or employee and an attorney that are confidential, made in the course of the professional relationship that exists between the attorney and his or her public agency client, and relate to legal advice sought by the agency from the attorney.”  Maxwell, supra at 149.

 

98.  After careful review of the minutes of the executive session of the August 8, 2007 meeting, it is found lines 25 and 26 of such minutes claimed exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(10), G.S., are not a record of communication privileged by the attorney-client privilege, within the meaning of such statute.

 

99.  With regard to the respondents’ 1-200(6), G.S., claim of exemption, such provision defines “executive session” as:

…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;  (B)  strategy and negotiations with respect to pending claims or pending litigation to which the public agency or a member thereof, because of the member’s conduct as a member of such agency, is a party until such litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled;  (C)  matters concerning security strategy or the deployment of security personnel, or devices affecting public security;  (D)  discussion of the selection of a site or the lease, sale or purchase of real estate by a political subdivision of the state when publicity regarding such site, lease, sale, purchase or construction would cause a likelihood of increased price until such time as all of the property has been acquired or all proceedings or transactions concerning same have been terminated or abandoned; and  (E)  discussion of any matter which would result in the disclosure of public records or the information contained therein described in subsection (b) of section 1-210.

100.  It is found that 1-200(6), G.S., does not provide any exemption for records.    

101.  It is therefore found that the portions of the in camera records not specifically described in paragraphs 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60, 63, 66, 69, 72, 75, 78, 81, 84, 87, 90, and 93, above, are not exempt from the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

102.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainants with a copy of the requested records, or portions thereof, found not to be exempt from disclosure in paragraph 101, above.

 

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

 

1. The respondents shall, forthwith, provide the complainants with a copy of the requested records, described in paragraph 2.c, above, at no cost.

 

2. In complying with the order in paragraph 1, above, the respondents may redact only such portions of such records, found to be exempt from disclosure in paragraphs 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60, 63, 66, 69, 72, 75, 78, 81, 84, 87, 90, and 93, above.

 

3.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the disclosure provisions of the FOI Act.

                                                                                                                       

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 14, 2009.

 

 

 

________________________________

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:

 

Cecil Young and Patricia Young

99 Carroll Avenue

Bridgeport, CT 06607

 

Mayor, City of Bridgeport,

and City of Bridgeport

c/o Melanie J. Howlett, Esq.

Office of City Attorney

999 Broad Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-197/FD/paj/1/21/2009

 

 

                                   

 

 

                       

 
 


[1] Because the respondents did not number the pages of the in camera records, nor identify such pages on the in camera index other than by date, the in camera records shall be identified herein by the date of the meeting to which they refer.

 

[2] The respondents claimed such exemption for a portion only of the minutes of the executive session of the ethics commission’s August 8, 2007 meeting.