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Final Decision FIC2014-084
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Alfred Gorenflo,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-084
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Connecticut
Classified Employees’ Retirement Fund,
City of Stamford; Board of Trustees,
Connecticut Classified Employees’ Retirement
Fund, City of Stamford; and City of Stamford,
     Respondents
October 8, 2014

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 9, 2014, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The case caption has been amended to more accurately identify the respondents to this matter.  

     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 complaint dated February 9, 2014, and filed February 10, 2014, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that, on January 9, 2014, prior to the start of the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees (“Board”) of the Connecticut Classified Employees’ Retirement Fund, the respondents improperly conducted a private meeting, to which the public was denied access.1

1
The complaint was timely filed in accordance with the Commissions regulations, §1-21j-15. Although the thirtieth day after the alleged violation in this case was February 8th, such date fell on a Saturday. Accordingly, when "[t]he last day of the period is…a day on which the principal office of the commission is closed…the period shall run until the end of the next following business day," which, in this case was Monday, February 10th.
     3.  More specifically, the complaint alleges that three of the six members of the respondent Board, Burt Rosenberg, Joseph Caruso and Joyce Sun, met privately in the hallway adjacent to the meeting room, prior to the start of the meeting, in violation of the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act.
     4.  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.
     5.  Section 1-200(2), G.S., defines “meeting” as:
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.  [Emphasis added].
     6.  It is found the respondent Board held a regular meeting on January 9, 2014 (the “meeting”). 
     7.  It is found that, at such time, Ms. Sun was newly appointed to the Board, and that the meeting was her first.  It is also found that, at the time of the meeting, Mr. Rosenberg was acquainted with both Ms. Sun and Mr. Caruso, but that Ms. Sun and Mr. Caruso were not acquainted with each other.  It is further found that these three individuals have a common interest, in that they were appointed to the Board to represent the classified employees. 

     8.  At the hearing in this matter, Mr. Rosenberg, Mr. Caruso and Ms. Sun all testified, credibly, and it is found, that they gathered in the hallway for a minute or two, just prior to the meeting for the purpose of greeting one another, the introducing of Ms. Sun to Mr. Caruso, and informing Ms. Sun that if, during the meeting, she had questions, she should speak up.  It is found that no other discussion took place.  
     9.  It is found that the complainant’s wife witnessed the gathering, but that she did not hear the discussion that took place.  It is found that the complainant did not offer any evidence to contradict the respondents’ testimony.  Rather, although not explicitly stated, the complainant implied that the gathering, in itself, violated the FOI Act, regardless of the nature of the discussion.
     10. However, it is found a gathering of the nature described in paragraph 8 , above, does not constitute a “meeting” as that term is defined in §1-200(2), G.S., because there was no discussion or action by these individuals of any matter over which the respondent Board had “supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.”
     11. Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents 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 October 8, 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:
Alfred Gorenflo
c/o John M. Walsh, Jr., Esq.
Licari, Walsh & Sklaver LLC
322 East Main Street
Suite 2
Branford, CT  06405
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Connecticut Classified
Employees’ Retirement Fund, City of Stamford;
Board of Trustees, Connecticut Classified Employees’
Retirement Fund, City of Stamford; and City of Stamford
c/o Michael Toma, Esq.
Stamford Corporation Counsel
885 Washington Blvd.
Stamford, CT  06904
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-084/FD/cac/10/8/2014