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Final Decision FIC2013-628
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Peter Hood,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-628
Chairman, Fairfield County Municipal
Deer Management Alliance; and Fairfield
County Deer Management Alliance, 
     Respondents
July 9, 2014

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 5, 2014, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2013-654; Chairman, Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance; and Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance.
     After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
     1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2.  By letter filed October 8, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the FOI Act by demanding that the complainant provide his name and other information to the respondents at the outset of their meeting of September 9, 2013.  The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties in this matter.
     3.  Section 1-225(e), G.S., provides:
No member of the public shall be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of any such body, to register the member’s name, or furnish other information, or complete a questionnaire or otherwise fulfill any condition precedent to the member’s attendance.
     4.  It is found that the complainant, who regularly attends the respondents’ meetings as a member of the public, refused to provide his name when the respondents requested that he do so at the outset of their meeting of September 9, 2013.
     5.  It is found that the respondent chairman was not present at the meeting.
     6.  The complainant alleged that certain members of the respondent Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance (“Alliance”) mocked his refusal to provide his name and declared that his silence created a “negative presence in the room.”
     7.  It is found that the respondents did not demand or even request that the complainant leave the meeting when he refused to provide his name.
     8.  It is found that the respondents did not condition the complainant’s attendance at the September 9, 2013 meeting or any of their meetings upon his providing his name.
     9.  It is found that while some members of the Alliance may have been rude or hostile to the complainant, they did not require, as a condition to attendance at the September 9, 2013 meeting, that the complainant provide his name or other information.
     10. The complainant also alleged that only those members of the public who are sympathetic to the deer management policies of the Alliance are made to feel welcome at the respondents meeting.  It is found, however, that such is not a condition precedent to attendance, within the meaning of §1-225(e), G.S.
     11. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate §1-225(e), G.S., 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 dismissed.
     2.  The Commission is compelled to remind the respondents of the spirit of the provisions of §1-225(e), G.S., and to advise that the respondent Alliance’s conduct was not appropriate.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 9, 2014.
__________________________
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:
Peter Hood
542 Villa Avenue
Fairfield, CT 06825
Chairman, Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management
Alliance; and Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance
c/o John W. Bradley, Jr., Esq.
Rome McGuigan, P.C.
One State Street
Hartford, CT  06103
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2013-628/FD/cac/7/9/2014