FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Daniel Tompkins,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-371

Mayor, City of Groton; and

Committee of the Whole,

City of Groton,

 
  Respondents May 13, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 25, 2008, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The case caption has been amended to reflect the accurate name of the respondent committee.  For purposes of hearing, the matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2008-396; Daniel Tompkins v. Committee of the Whole, City of Groton; and Docket #FIC 2008-453; Daniel D. Tompkins v. Mayor, City of Groton; and City of Groton

 

1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter dated May 23, 2008, and filed with the Commission on May 28, 2008, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act by conducting an unnoticed meeting on April 28, 2008. 

 

3.  Section 1-225(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “. . . [t]he meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions, as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, shall be open to the public.”

 

4.  Section 1-200(2), G.S., further provides that:

 

. . . ‘meeting’ means any hearing or other proceeding of a public agency, any convening or assembly of a quorum of a multimember public agency, and any communication by or to a quorum of a multimember public agency … to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

 

5.  Section 1-225, G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

(c)  The agenda of the regular meetings of every public agency . . . shall be available to the public and shall be filed, not less than twenty-four hours before the meetings to which they refer, in such agency's regular office or place of business or, if there is no such office or place of business . . . in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision of the state…Upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of a public agency present and voting, any subsequent business not included in such filed agendas may be considered and acted upon at such meetings…

 

6.  It is found that the respondent mayor is a member of the respondent committee.

 

7.  It is found that, on April 28, 2008, the respondents conducted a regular meeting, for which an agenda was timely filed, within the meaning of 1-225(c), G.S.

 

8.  It is found that, after the April 28, 2008 meeting concluded, and as the public and members of the respondent committee were exiting the meeting room, the respondent mayor called the members of the respondent committee back into the meeting room.  It is found that the complainant also reentered the meeting room.

 

9.  It is found that the respondent mayor then informed the other members of the respondent committee about progress being made on the search for a new Director of Public Utilities.  It is found that the respondents conducted this discussion in the meeting room, with the door open, and that the complainant was in the room for most of the discussion.

 

10.  At the hearing in this matter, the respondents stipulated that they violated the FOI Act, and that what they ought to have done was vote by two-thirds majority to add the discussion described in paragraph 9, above, to the agenda of the April 28, 2008 meeting, and to have conducted such discussion prior to the adjournment of such meeting.  The respondents pledged to follow the notice and open meeting requirements of the FOI Act in the future.

 

11.  It is concluded that the respondents violated 1-225, G.S., 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.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the open meeting and notice requirements set forth in 1-225, G.S.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May l3, 2009.

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

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:

 

Daniel Tompkins    

30 South Prospect Street

Groton, CT 06340

 

Mayor, City of Groton; and

Committee of the Whole

City of Groton

C/o Matthew Shafner, Esq.

Suisman, Shapiro, Wool, Brennan, Gray & Greenberg, P.C.

2 Union Plaza, Suite 200

P.O. Box 1591

New London, CT 06320

 

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-371FD/sw/5/18/2009