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Final Decision FIC2014-382
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Paul Baer,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-382
Sarah B. Laughlin, Chairman, Board
of Assessment Appeals, Town of
Thompson; Board of Assessment
Appeals, Town of Thompson; and
Town of Thompson,
     Respondents
April 22, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 21, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. 
     For purposes of the hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2014-586, Sarah Laughlin, Chairperson, Board of Assessment Appeals, Town of Thompson; Erica Groh, Member, Board of Assessment Appeals, Town of Thompson; Linda Jarmolowicz, Member, Board of Assessment Appeals, Town of Thompson; Board of Assessment Appeals, Town of Thompson; and Town of Thompson.
     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.  It is found that, by email dated June 13, 2014, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to file the minutes for meetings held by the respondent board between March 4, 2014 and May 7, 2014 as required by §1-225(d), G.S.  The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties.
     3.  Section 1-225(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
The votes of each member of any such public agency upon any issue before such public agency shall be reduced to writing and made available for public inspection within forty-eight hours and shall also be recorded in the minutes of the session at which taken.  Not later than seven days after the date of the session to which such minutes refer, such minutes shall be available for public inspection …Each public agency shall make, keep and maintain a record of the proceedings of its meetings.
     4.  It is found that at least seven regular meetings were held by the respondent board between March 4 and May 7, 2014 for which minutes were not filed until June 23, 2014.
     5.  It is found, and the respondents admit, that the minutes for those meetings were not filed within seven days after they were held as required by §1-225(a), G.S.
     6.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated §1-225(a), G.S., by failing to make the minutes of its March 4 through May 7, 2014 regular meetings available for public inspection within seven days after those meetings.
     7.  With respect to the complainant’s request for a civil penalty, this Commission declines to consider such request in this case.
     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 strictly comply with the meetings provisions of §1-225(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting Of April 22, 2015.
__________________________
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:
Paul Baer
P.O. Box 522
Thompson, CT  06277
Sarah B. Laughlin, Chairman, Board of Assessment Appeals,
Town of Thompson; Board of Assessment Appeals, Town of
Thompson; and Town of Thompson
c/o William H. St. Onge
St. Onge & Brouillard
P.O. Box 550
Putnam, CT  06260

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-382/FD/cac/4/22/2015