FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Gale Lockland, Chairman,

Board of Education,

Scotland Public Schools,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-563

Board of Education,

Regional School District 11;

and Board of Education,

Chaplin Public Schools,

 
  Respondents June 25, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was scheduled to be heard as a contested case on January 26, 2009, at 2:00 p.m., at which time the respondents appeared but the complainant did not appear to prosecute the case.  A Report of Hearing Officer, dated January 26, 2009, was considered, but not adopted, by the Commission at its regular meeting on February 25, 2009.  The Commission, at such meeting, voted to reopen the hearing in this matter, and such hearing was held on May 6, 2009.  The complainant and the respondents appeared at the May 6, 2009 hearing, 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 dated August 26, 2008, and filed August 28, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to adequately apprise the public regarding “the process through which the [respondents] did serve a civil summons to the Scotland BOE.”  The complainant further alleged that “the process was “obfuscated, intentionally or not.”  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant clarified that her complaint essentially is that the agenda for the March 17, 2008 special meeting of the Chaplin, Region #11 Central Office Committee (the “March 17, 2008 meeting”) was not specific enough to fairly apprise the public of the matters to be considered at such meeting.

 

3.  It is found that the complainant is the chairman of the Scotland Board of Education (“SBOE”), and that, on May 20, 2008, the SBOE was served with the civil summons referenced in paragraph 2, above. 

 

4.  It is found that, sometime in June, 2008, the complainant reviewed the agenda and minutes of the March 17, 2008 special meeting, and determined that, at such meeting, the respondents voted to authorize their attorney to initiate the legal action against SBOE, referenced in paragraphs 2 and 3, above.

 

5.  Section 1-206(b)(1), G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records…or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a public agency or denied any other right conferred by the Freedom of Information Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission.  A notice of appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after such denial, except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice in fact that such meeting was held.

 

6.  It is found that, even viewing the facts most favorably to the complainant, the complainant had notice in fact of the alleged violation sometime in June, at the latest.  The complainant therefore failed to file her complaint with the Commission within 30 days of the alleged violation.  

 

7.  It is therefore concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction to decide this case.

 

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

 

1.  The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of June 25, 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:

 

Gale Lockland, Chairman,

Board of Education,

Scotland Public Schools

68 Brook Road

Scotland, CT 06264

 

Board of Education,

Regional School District 11

304 Parish Hill Road

Chaplin, CT 06235

 

Board of Education,

Chaplin Public Schools

304 Parish Hill Road

Chaplin, CT 06235

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-563FD/sw/6/29/2009