FOI: FIC2015-279

Final Decision FIC2015-279
 
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
 
Pamela Dudgeon-Eisenlohr,
     Complainant
 
     against
 
Docket #FIC 2015-279
Chairman, Inland Wetlands Commission,
Town of Kent; Inland Wetlands
Commission, Town of Kent; and Town of
Kent,
     Respondents
 
 
 
 
January 13, 2016
 

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 4, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, 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. It is found that the respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
 
     2. By letter filed April 20, 2015, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by improperly adding an item to the agenda for their March 23, 2015 meeting, failing to adequately describe the reason for convening in executive session at the March 23, 2015 meeting, and meeting in executive session for an improper purpose.  The complainant also alleged a secret meeting to discuss and appoint a member of the respondent commission to a committee to interview candidates for the positionof Land Use Clerk.
 
     3. Section 1-225, G.S., provides, in relevant part:
(a) The meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions, as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, shall be open to the public.
     4. Section 1-200(6), G.S., in relevant part, provides:
(6)  “Executive sessions” means a meeting of a public agency at which the public is excluded for one or more of the following purposes: (A)  Discussion concerning the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that such individual may require that discussion be held at an open meeting…
     5. Section 1-225, G.S., also provides: 
(c)  The agenda of the regular meetings of every public agency … shall be available to the public… Upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of a public agency present and voting, any subsequent business not included in such filed agendas may be considered and acted upon at such meetings….
 
(f)  A public agency may hold an executive session as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, upon an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of such body present and voting, taken at a public meeting and stating the reasons for such executive session, as defined in section 1-200.
     6. It is found that the respondents’ March 23, 2015 meeting was a regular meeting and that the agenda was available to the public. 
 
     7. It is found that two-thirds of the members of the respondent commission present and voting voted to hold an executive session during the March 23, 2015 meeting.
 
     8. It is found that the stated reason for such executive session was to discuss progress on the hiring of a person to fill the position of Land Use Clerk.
 
     9. The complainant alleged that the respondents discussed possible adjustments to the position’s pay scale in the executive session.
 
     10.  It is found, however, that the respondents did not discuss the pay scale in executive session.  It is found, instead, that the respondents discussed the possible employment of one candidate during the executive session. 
 
     11.  It is concluded that such discussion was permissible pursuant to §1-200(6)(A), G.S.
 
     12.  It is also found, however, that the respondents also discussed who from the respondent commission would represent the commission on the Interview Committee created to interview the candidate(s) for the position of clerk.
 
     13.  It is concluded that such discussion was not a proper purpose for an executive session, within the meaning of §1-200(6), G.S.
 
     14.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated §1-225(a), G.S., by discussing in executive session which member of the commission would represent the commission on the Interview Committee.
 
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
 
     1.  Henceforth, the respondents shall comply with the requirements of §1-225(a), G.S.
 
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 13, 2016.
 
 
 
__________________________
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:
 
Pamela Dudgeon-Eisenlohr
2 Winchester Avenue
Winsted, CT  06098
 
Chairman, Inland Wetlands Commission, Town of Kent; Inland
Wetlands Commission, Town of Kent; and Town of Kent
41 Kent Green Boulevard
P.O. Box 678
Kent, CT  06757
 

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
 
 
 

FIC/2015-279/FD/cac/1/13/2016




Content Last Modified on 1/28/2016 4:28:08 PM