As of September 5, 2022, Freedom of Information Commission meetings and contested case hearings will resume being conducted in person. All parties and witnesses must appear in person for their contested case hearings and Commission meetings. Please access this link or contact the Commission for further information.

Final Decision FIC2011-545
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Joan L. Zygmunt,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2011-545
Town Counsel, Town of Westport; First
Selectman, Town of Westport; Town of
Westport; Chief, Police Department, Town
of Westport; and Police Department, Town
of Westport,
     Respondents
August 8, 2012

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 5, 2012, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2. By letter filed October 5, 2011, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by holding an unnoticed, secret meeting on March 17, 2006. 
     3. It is found that the respondent Town Counsel, First Selectman, and Chief of Police met on March 17, 2006 with an attorney for the town’s insurer to discuss a litigation matter against a member of the town’s police department.
     4. It is found that the complainant learned of such gathering on September 21, 2011.
     5. Section 1-225(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “The meetings of all public agencies … shall be open to the public…”
     6. 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. “Meeting” does not include: … an administrative or staff meeting of a single-member public agency…
     7. It is found that the meeting was held at the request of the attorney for the town’s insurer.  It is found that it is customary practice for outside counsel to first contact the Town Attorney to schedule a meeting to provide a status update of pending litigation, and for the Town Attorney to attend such meeting.  It is found that it is also customary practice for the First Selectman to be present, as well as the department head whose member is the subject of the litigation.
     8. It is found that the gathering described in paragraph 3, above, was not an assembly of a quorum of any multimember public agency, within the meaning of §1-200(2), G.S.  It is also found that the gathering was not a hearing or other proceeding of any public agency, within the meaning of §1-200(2), G.S.
     9. It is concluded, therefore, that the March 17, 2006 gathering described in paragraph 3, above, was not a “meeting,” subject to the notice and access requirements of §1-225, G.S.
     10.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.
     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 August 8, 2012.

__________________________
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:
Joan L. Zygmunt
20 Hendrie Court
Stamford, CT  06902
Town Counsel, Town of Westport; First
Selectman, Town of Westport; Town of Westport;
Chief, Police Department, Town of Westport; and
Police Department, Town of Westport
c/o Gail Kelly, Esq. and
Ira Bloom, Esq.
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.
27 Imperial Avenue
Westport, CT  06880

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2011-545/FD/cac/8/8/2012