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Final Decision FIC2015-503
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
James Brennan,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2015-503
Inland Wetlands Commission,
Town of Seymour; and Town of Seymour,
     Respondents
February 10, 2016

     The above-captioned matter was heard as contested case on November 3, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared 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.  The respondent Inland Wetlands Commission and the respondent Town of Seymour are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1)(A), G.S.
     2.  By letter dated July 29, 2015 and filed with the Freedom of Information Commission (“FOIC”) on July 31, 2015, the complainant appealed to the FOIC, alleging that the respondent Commission:  (a) failed to file their minutes correctly, and specifically that, as of the July 27, 2015 meeting, there were no minutes available for the June 22, 2015 meeting; and (b) stopped the complainant from speaking at the July 27, 2015 meeting and would not allow him to speak further, despite the fact that he was on the agenda. 
     3.  Section 1-225(a), G.S., states in relevant part:
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, which minutes shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer. (emphasis added)
     4.  The respondents stipulated, and it is found, that the minutes of the June 22, 2015 meeting of the respondent Commission were not filed and available for public inspection until July 30, 2015.  The respondents also stated that they have taken steps to ensure that this late filing problem does not recur.
 
     5.  It is concluded that the respondent Commission violated the requirements of §1-225, G.S., when it failed to have minutes available for public inspection within seven days of its June 22, 2015 meeting.
     6.  It is also concluded that there is no right pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) to speak at a public meeting, and accordingly, that the respondents did not violate the FOIA as alleged in paragraph 2(b), above.
     The following order by the FOIC is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
     1.  Henceforth, the respondent Commission shall strictly comply with all requirements of §1-225, G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 10, 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:
James Brennan
124 Bungay Road
Seymour, CT  06483
Inland Wetlands Commission,
Town of Seymour; and Town of Seymour
c/o Christopher J. Sugar, Esq.
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.
75 Broad Street
Milford, CT  06460

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2015-503/FD/cac/2/10/2016