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Final Decision FIC2012-477
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Adam J. Petrillo,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-477
Board of Directors, Poquonnock Bridge
Fire District; and Poquonnock Bridge
Fire District,
     Respondents
April 10, 2013

     By motion dated October 16, 2012 and filed October 17, 2012, the respondents moved to dismiss the above-captioned matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  On January 17, 2013, the hearing officer postponed the hearing that had been scheduled in this matter, and issued an order to the complainant to file a brief in opposition to the motion to dismiss on or before February 1, 2013.  However, the complainant did not file such brief. 

     1.  Section 1-206(b)(4), G.S., provides that:
          [n]otwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of an appeal to the commission of a denial by a public agency, the commission may, upon motion of such agency, confirm the action of the agency and dismiss the appeal without a hearing if it finds, after examining the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, that the agency has not violated the Freedom of Information Act.
     2.  The notice of appeal, dated May 18, 2012 and filed with the Freedom of Information Commission (“Commission”) on May 23, 2012, alleges that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act with regard to the August 1, 2012 special meeting of the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District (“special meeting”).  Specifically, the complainant alleges that the respondents failed to comply with certain notice requirements contained in §1-225, G.S., and further complains that the respondents used paper ballots and disallowed “public participation.” 
     3.  The complainant attached a copy of the special meeting notice to the notice of appeal, described in paragraph 2, above, which meeting notice indicated that the special meeting was a meeting of the voters of the fire district to consider a petition to amend a fire district ordinance.  
     4.  As the Commission has previously concluded, a meeting of the voters of a respondent fire district is not a public meeting, subject to the requirements of the FOI Act.  See Jeff S. Tager v. Blue Hills Fire District, Docket #FIC 1993-202 (January 26, 1994).  Rather, the notice and procedural requirements for such meetings are governed by §7-327, G.S.1

1
Section 7-327, G.S., provides, in relevant part: "...Special meetings of the district may be called on the application of ten per cent of the total number of persons qualified to vote in the meeting of a district or twenty of the voters of such district, whichever is less, or by the president or any three directors upon giving notice as hereinafter provided...." (Emphasis added).
 5.  Accordingly, after consideration of the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the complainant, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the provisions of the FOI Act.
 Pursuant to §1-206(b)(4), G.S., the following order by the Commission is hereby recommended:

     1.  The actions of the respondents are hereby confirmed and the complaint is dismissed without a hearing.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 10, 2013.

__________________________
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:
Adam J. Petrillo
66 Ring Drive
Groton, CT  06340
Board of Directors, Poquonnock Bridge
Fire District; and Poquonnock Bridge
Fire District
c/o Kristin L. Wainright, Esq.
Tobin, Carberry, O’Malley, Riley & Selinger, P.C.
43 Broad Street
P.O. Box 58
New London, CT  06320
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-477/FD/cac/4/10/2013