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Final Decision FIC2014-502
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Steven Ballok,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-502
John Salvatore, Chief, Police
Department, Town of Monroe;
Police Department, Town of
Monroe; Chairman, Board of
Police Commissioners, Town
of Monroe; Board of Police
Commissioners, Town of
Monroe; and Town of Monroe,
     Respondents
June 10, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 6, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The Commission notes that the Notice of Hearing and Order to Show Cause omitted Chief Salvatore’s title.  The case captioned above has been amended to correct such omission. 
     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, on May 21, 2014 during a regular meeting of the Monroe Board of Police Commissioners, the complainant verbally requested that the Chief of Police for the Town of Monroe (the “Chief of Police” or the “Chief”) provide him with copies of the following records:  “all documents regarding expenditures of donated funds that came from the Monroe Four Freedoms Project.” 
     3.  It is further found that, approximately eight days later, the respondents provided the complainant with copies of certain responsive records.
     4.  By letter dated and filed July 29, 2014, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOI Act”) by denying him copies of some of the records responsive to his request. 
     5.  In his July 29, 2014 appeal to the Commission, the complainant also alleged that the respondents violated the FOI Act by conducting an illegal telephonic meeting prior to March 14, 2014, during which time decisions were made with regard to how to spend certain donated funds.  The complainant requested that the Commission consider the imposition of a civil penalty, as well as consider ordering the respondents to redeposit the donated funds back into a town account. 
     6.  Section 1-206, G.S., provides, in relevant part, as follows: 
(b)(1) Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records… or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a public agency... may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission.  A notice of appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after such denial, except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice in fact that such meeting was held....
     7.  It is found that, on March 19, 2014, at a regular meeting of the Monroe Board of Police Commissioners, the Chief of Police publicly announced that a motivational speaker by the name of Phil Chalmers had been reserved to speak to high school students on June 3rd.  
     8.  It is found that the issue of the Board of Police Commissioners engaging Mr. Chalmers as a speaker had never previously appeared on a meeting agenda. 
     9.  It is found that the complainant was in attendance at the Board of Police Commissioners’ March 19, 2014 regular meeting.  It is further found that the board’s action, as described in paragraph 7, above, was set forth in the minutes of the board’s March 19, 2014 meeting. 
     10. It is found that, on March 19, 2014, the public had notice in fact that an alleged unnoticed meeting concerning the action described in paragraph 7, above, had occurred sometime prior to the March 19th announcement. 
     11. Therefore, in accordance with the provisions of §1-206(b)(1), G.S., the complainant was obligated to file his complaint concerning the alleged unnoticed meeting at issue within thirty days of March 19, 2014.
     12. Likewise, with regard to the records request at issue, the complainant was obligated to file his complaint concerning an alleged denial of public records within thirty days of May 29, 2014.  (See ¶¶ 2-3, above).
     13. Because it is found that the complainant did not file his appeal in this case until July 29, 2014, it is concluded that the Commission does not have subject matter jurisdiction over these matters.
     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.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 10, 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:
Steven J. Ballok
5 Winthrop Drive
Shelton, CT  06484
John Salvatore, Chief, Police Department, Town of Monroe;
Police Department, Town of Monroe; Chairman, Board of
Police Commissioners, Town of Monroe; Board of Police
Commissioners, Town of Monroe; and Town of Monroe
c/o John P. Fracassini, Esq.
188 Main Street, Suite F
Monroe, CT  06468

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-502/FD/cac/6/10/2015