FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Richard Poulton,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-419
Inland Wetlands & Watercourse
Commission, Town of East Haven,
 
  Respondent May 11, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 1, 2010, at which time the complainant appeared, and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The respondent failed to appear and the hearing officer was unable to determine whether the respondent had received notice of such hearing.  A continued hearing was held on January 19, 2011, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, and presented 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter dated July 3, 2010, and filed with the Commission on July 6, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act when members of the respondent commission discussed agency business during the recess of the respondent’s June 9, 2010 regular meeting (“regular meeting”).

 

3.  It is found that the respondent held a regular meeting on June 9, 2010 (“the meeting”).

 

4.  It is found that the respondent’s agenda for the meeting provided, in relevant part, as follows:

 

10)       Enforcement Policies

a.  Cease and Desist Order for 28 Cliff St.

 

(“the order”)

5.  It is found that the complainant was present at the June 9, 2010 meeting during which, the respondent commission discussed matters pertaining to the order, described in paragraph 4, above.

 

6.  It is found that, during the discussion of the order and at approximately 9:25 p.m., the respondent commission voted to take a five minute recess (“the recess”).

 

7.  It is found that the respondent commission reconvened the meeting at approximately 9:30 p.m., after returning from the recess.

 

8.  With respect to the allegations described in paragraph 2, above, 1-200(2), G.S., provides in relevant part 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, 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.

 

9.  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.”

 

10.  At the hearing on this matter, the complainant contended that, during the recess, he returned to the meeting room and overheard the respondent’s chairman and two board members discussing the order.  The complainant specifically claimed that such discussion should be “considered an illegal meeting” since the respondent’s members held a “private discussion off the record” concerning the agenda item described in paragraph 4, above.

 

11.  The respondent commission contends that none of its members participated in a discussion about the order during the June 9, 2010 recess.

 

12.  It is found that the respondent did not discuss a matter over which it has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power during the recess, within the meaning of 1-200(2), G.S., during the recess at issue.

 

13.  Accordingly, it is 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 hereby dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 11, 2011.

 

 

__________________________

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:

 

Richard Poulton

32 Cliff Street

East Haven, CT  06512

 

Inland Wetlands & Watercourse Commission,

Town of East Haven

c/o James F. Cirillo, Jr., Esq.

Assistant Town Counsel

Town of East Haven

128 Chestnut Street

Branford, CT  06405

 

and

 

Michael A. Albis, Esq.

58 Edward Street

East Haven, CT  06512

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-419/FD/cac/5/16/2011