FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Socorro Barron,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-550

Affordable Housing Committee,

Town of Ridgefield,

 
  Respondent May 25, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 31, 2011 at which time the complainant appeared, but the respondent failed to appear.  The complainant 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 respondent is a public agency, within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter dated August 29, 2010, and filed September 1, 2010, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent failed, on an ongoing basis, to make the minutes of its meetings available for public inspection, in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act.

 

3.  Section 1-225(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part, that:

 

Not later than seven days after the date of the session to which such minutes refer, such minutes shall be available for public inspection and posted on such public agency’s Internet web site, if available, except that no public agency of a political subdivision of the state shall be required to post such minutes on an Internet website.  Each public agency shall make, keep and maintain a record of the proceedings of its meetings.

 

4.  It is found that the respondent has no office at which minutes are kept and may be inspected by the public; rather, minutes of the respondent’s meetings are maintained at the town clerk’s office.  It is further found that, on an ongoing basis, dating back at least since April 2009, the complainant had gone to the town clerk’s office and requested copies of the minutes of the respondent’s meetings, from 2005 through 2010.  It is also found that, on numerous occasions, on an ongoing basis, the complainant has not been able to inspect such minutes, because, and the respondent concedes, the respondent has failed to timely make available the minutes of its meetings.

 

5.  It is found that none of the minutes of the meetings of the respondent held in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 were available at the town clerk’s office, as required by 1-225(a), G.S.  Of the meetings held in 2010, only the minutes of the meeting held on November 15, 2010, were available for public inspection, as required by law.

 

6.  Accordingly, it is found that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to timely make available the minutes of its meetings, as described in paragraph 5, above.

 

7.  In addition, although it is found that the respondent has, in response to the complaint, filed with the town clerk minutes of its meetings held in 2005 through 2010, although in some instances months, if not years, after the meetings occurred, there are still minutes which the complainant has, as of the date of the hearing in this matter, still not been able to inspect.  In particular, the complainant is seeking to inspect the minutes of the meetings held in May and June of 2005.  The hearing officer is unable to ascertain, based on the evidence presented at the hearing, whether meetings were held in the months for which there are no minutes, whether no minutes were created, or whether the minutes were simply not made available at the town clerk’s office.

 

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

 

            1.  Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of 1-225(a), G.S.

 

            2.  The respondent shall, forthwith, provide to the complainant an affidavit indicating, for the years 2005 through 2010, which months in each of those years the respondent did not hold meetings. 

 

            3.  If the respondent held meetings in May and June of 2005, the respondent shall, forthwith, provide to the complainant, free of charge, a copy of the minutes of such meetings and forward the minutes of such meetings to the town clerk’s office.

 

  Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 25, 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:

 

Socorro Barron

P.O. Box 127

Ridgefield, CT  06877

 

Affordable Housing Committee, Town of Ridgefield

c/o Dave Goldenberg, Chairman

79 Seth Low Mountain Road

Ridgefield, CT  06877

 

 

 

 

___________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

FIC/2010-550FD/cac/6/1/2011