FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
George Hlavacek,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-073

Robert Silvaggi, First Selectman,

Town of Brookfield; Jerry Murphy,

Selectman, Town of Brookfield;

Joni Park, Selectman, Town of

Brookfield; and Board of

Selectmen, Town of Brookfield,

 
  Respondents January 29, 2009
       

           

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 23, 2008, at which time the complainant 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.  By letter of complaint filed February 1, 2008, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by conducting a private meeting to decide not to re-appoint him to an additional two-year term as Assessor.

 

3.  It is found that issues about the complainant’s performance as the Assessor arose sometime around or before March of 2007.

 

4.  It is found that the town’s Acting Comptroller and the town’s Director of Operations had conversations with the complainant about his performance beginning in August of 2007.

 

5.  It is found that the town’s Acting Comptroller and Director of Operations brought complaints about the complainant’s performance as Assessor to the  respondent Mr. Murphy’s attention during his term as First Selectman prior to Mr. Silvaggi.

 

6.  It is found that the respondent Mr. Murphy came to the conclusion near the end of his term in November or December 2007, without discussing the matter with other selectmen, that he would not support the re-appointment of the complainant as Assessor.

 

7.  It is found that, after Mr. Silvaggi became First Selectman, the Director of Operations also discussed the complainant’s performance with Mr. Silvaggi, without specifically discussing the issue of his re-appointment.

 

8.  It is found that Mr. Murphy and Mr. Silvaggi came to the decision not to support the complainant’s re-appointment independently of each other, and did not discuss the issue with each other.

 

9.  It is found that the Director of Operations wrote a January 7, 2008 memorandum to the complainant informing him that his appointment term would expire at the end of January, and that the Board of Selectmen had informed her that they were in the process of reviewing his performance as the town’s Assessor.

 

10.  It is found that the respondents met on January 7, 2008, at which time the complainant was not re-appointed as Assessor, without discussion.  It is further found that Mr. Murphy prepared the list of individuals to be re-appointed, and the complainant’s name was deliberately omitted from that list. 

 

11.  It is found that the respondents unanimously approved the list of re-appointments.

 

12.  It is found that the respondent Ms. Park, voting to approve the list of re-appointments, deferred to the experience of Mr. Murphy and Mr. Silvaggi.  If is further found that Ms. Park did not discuss the matter of the complainant’s non-appointment with either Mr. Murphy or Mr. Silvaggi before the meeting.

 

13.  It is found that the respondent Mr. Silvaggi by letter dated January 10, 2008 notified the complainant that the Board of Selectmen had agreed not to re-appoint him to the position of Assessor, based on performance issues.

 

14.  It is found that no private or secret meeting concerning the complainant’s re-appointment as Assessor preceded the respondent’s January 2008 meeting.

 

15.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.

 

 

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

 

1.  The complaint is dismissed.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 29, 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:

 

George Hlavacek

221 Meadow Street

Shelton, CT 06484

 

Robert Silvaggi, First Selectman,

Town of Brookfield; Jerry Murphy,

Selectman, Town of Brookfield;

Joni Park, Selectman, Town of

Brookfield; and Board of

Selectmen, Town of Brookfield

c/o Francis J. Collins, Esq. and

Thomas W. Beecher, Esq.

Collins, Hannafin, Garamella, Jaber & Tuozzolo

148 Deer Hill Avenue

PO Box 440

Danbury, CT 06813-0440

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-073FD/paj/1/29/2009