FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Dennis M. Foran and

Joan Foran,

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-478

Board of Selectmen, Town

of Andover,

 
  Respondent April 22, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was scheduled to be heard as a contested case on October 9, 2008, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared and requested that the matter be continued so that they might attempt settlement of the complaint.  Such request was granted.

 

The above-captioned matter was then heard as a contested case on January 13, 2009, at which time the complainants 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 2008-447; Jolene D. Rocks v. Robert Burbank, First Selectman, Town of Andover; and Board of Selectmen, Town of Andover; and Docket #FIC 2008-470; Dennis M. Foran and Christine D. Dunnack v. Board of Selectmen, Town of Andover.

 

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.      It is found that the respondent board conducted a regular meeting on June 4, 2008 (hereinafter “the meeting”).

 

3.      By letter dated July 16, 2008 and filed July 17, 2008, the complainants appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide the record of the votes and minutes of the meeting to the Andover Town Clerk (hereinafter “clerk”) in a timely manner. 

 

4.      The Commission notes that 1-210(a), G. S., although subsequently amended, at all times relevant to this matter provided:

 

…Each [public] agency shall keep and maintain all public records in its custody at its regular office or place of business in an accessible place and, if there is no such office or place of business, the public records pertaining to such agency shall be kept in the office of the clerk of the political subdivision in which such public agency is located or of the Secretary of the State, as the case may be…Each such agency shall make, keep and maintain a record of the proceedings of its meetings.

 

5.      The Commission notes that 1-225(a), G. S., although subsequently amended, at all times relevant to this matter provided:

 

… The votes of each member of any such public agency upon any issue before such public agency shall be reduced to writing and made available for public inspection within forty-eight hours and shall also be recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken, which minutes shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer.

 

6.       It is found that the respondent board maintains a regular place of business within the meaning of 1-210(a), G. S.  It is also found that the votes and minutes of the meeting were available at the respondent’s regular place of business within forty-eight hours of the meeting, within the meaning of 1-225(a), G. S.  It is further found that it is the practice of the board to file copies of its minutes with the clerk, but that, through inadvertence, the copy of the minutes at issue were not provided to the clerk until June 12, 2008.  At the hearing in this matter, the chairman of the respondent board testified that he has now established a procedure whereby the minutes of the respondent’s meetings are simultaneously provided to the respondent and to the clerk.

 

7.       The Commission commends the respondent chairman for the new procedure described in paragraph 6, above, as it will provide for greater access to board minutes. 

 

8.      However, it is concluded that, since the respondent board maintains a regular place of business, it is not required to file its minutes with the clerk, within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.  Accordingly, it is further concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint. 

 

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 April 22, 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:

 

Dennis M. Foran and

Joan Foran

c/o Melissa Testa, Esq.

21 East Middle Turnpike

Manchester, CT 06042

           

Board of Selectmen,

Town of Andover

c/o Dennis O’Brien, Esq.

O’Brien and Johnson

120 Bolivia Street

Willimantic, CT 06226

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-478FD/paj/4/24/2009