FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Stephen A. Bickford,   
  Complainant  
  against   Docket # FIC 2009-117

David McCord, Member,

Board of Education,

North Stonington Public Schools;

and Board of Education,

North Stonington Public Schools,

 
  Respondents August 26, 2009
       

 

This matter was scheduled to be heard as a contested case on July 21, 2009.  On July 8, 2009, the respondents moved to dismiss the matter without a hearing pursuant to 1-206(b)(4), G.S.  On July 14, 2009, the hearing was postponed, and the Commission ordered any objection to the motion to dismiss to be filed with the Commission by July 23, 2009.  No such objection was received by the Commission. 

           

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

 

2.  By letter of complaint filed March 2, 2009, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents failed to comply with an order of the Commission in Stephen Bickford v. Board of Education, North Stonington Public Schools, Docket #FIC 2008-330 (Final Decision, September 24, 2008).   Specifically, the complainant alleges “the [C]omission mandated that all North Stonington Board of Education members attend a mandatory workshop on FOI protocols,” and that, although such workshop was held on February 10, 2009, one member of the respondent board, David McCord, failed to attend, and that the respondents thereby violated the FOI Act.

 

3.  Section 1-206(b)(4), G.S., provides that:

 

“[n]otwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of an appeal to the commission of a denial by a public agency, the commission may, upon motion of such agency, confirm the action of the agency and dismiss the appeal without a hearing if it finds, after examining the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, that (A) the agency has not violated the Freedom of Information Act, or (B) the agency has committed a technical violation of the Freedom of Information Act that constitutes a harmless error that does not infringe the appellant’s rights under said act.

 

4.  It is found that the order, in Docket #FIC 2008-330 provides, in relevant part, as follows:

 

The respondents shall contact the Commission staff within 30 days of the Notice of Final Decision in this matter for an educational workshop.

 

5.  It is concluded that, contrary to the complainant’s assertion that all members of the respondent board were required by the Commission’s order to attend the workshop,  the respondents were required only to contact the Commission to schedule an educational workshop, which, the complainant concedes, the respondents did. 

 

6.  Therefore, after examining the complaint and pleadings in this matter and construing all allegations most favorably to the complainant, it is found that the respondents have not violated the FOI Act.  

 

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

 

1.  The action of the respondents is confirmed and the complaint is dismissed without a hearing pursuant to 1-206(b)(4)(A), G.S. 

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 26, 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:

 

Stephen A. Bickford

265 Flanders Road

Stonington, CT 06378

 

David McCord, Member,

Board of Education,

North Stonington Public Schools;

and Board of Education,

North Stonington Public Schools

C/o Anne H. Littlefield, Esq.

Shipman & Goodwin LLP

One Constitution Plaza

Hartford, CT 06103

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-117FD/sw/8/31/2009