FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Elizabeth T. Wassmundt,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-690
Board of Ethics, Town of Mansfield,  
  Respondent June 9, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 2, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The matter was consolidated for hearing with docket #FIC 2009-627; Elizabeth T. Wassmundt v. Board of Ethics, Town of Mansfield; and docket #FIC 2009-656; Mike Sikoski v. Nancy Cox, Chair, Board of Ethics, Town of Mansfield; Nora Stevens, Vice Chair, Board of Ethics, Town of Mansfield; Maria Capriola, Assistant to the Town Manager, Town of Mansfield; and Board of Ethics, Town of Mansfield.

 

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.      By letter received and filed on November 16, 2009, the complainant appealed to the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the FOI Act by holding an unnoticed meeting sometime between October 21, 2009 and October 24, 2009.

 

3.      Section 1-225, G.S., provides in relevant part:  “The meetings of all public agencies … shall be public.”

 

4.      Section 1-200, G.S., provides: 

 

“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, whether in person or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power. 

 

5.      It is found that the respondent held an executive session at its meeting of September 17, 2009.  It is found that the complainant subsequently asked the vice-chairwoman, who presided over the meeting, whether the respondent’s recording secretary attended the executive session.

 

6.      It is found that on October 14, 2009, the vice-chairwoman informed the complainant by e-mail that the recording secretary had not attended the executive session. 

 

7.      It is found that on October 21, 2009, however, the vice-chairwoman informed the complainant by e-mail that after speaking with other members of the Board of Ethics, she learned that the recording secretary did attend the executive session.

 

8.      It is found that upon further inquiry by the complainant, the vice-chairwoman informed the complainant by e-mail on October 24, 2009 that “two members did tell me that [the recording secretary] was present.”

 

9.      It is found that the vice-chairperson’s limited inquiry of two other board members as to whether the recording secretary attended the executive session was not a hearing or other proceeding of the respondent.  It is also found that the inquiry was not a convening or assembly of a quorum of the respondent, nor was it communication by or to a quorum to discuss or act upon a matter over which the respondent has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

 

10.  It is concluded, therefore, that the vice-chairperson did not hold an unnoticed meeting and did not violate the open meeting requirements of 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 complaint is dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 9, 2010.

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

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:

 

Elizabeth T. Wassmundt

54 Old Turnpike Road

Storrs, CT  06268

 

Board of Ethics, Town of Mansfield

c/o Dennis O’Brien, Esq.

120 Bolivia Street

Willimantic, CT  06226

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2009-690/FD/cac/6/16/2010