Sullivan v. Tremarche
A transition committee established to review the job description for a director position and to propose changes, did not have as its sole purpose to recommend a candidate or candidates as required by C.G.S. §1-200(7) to be a "personnel search committee" and was not exempt from the notice and minutes of meetings requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. Guy Sullivan appealed to the Freedom of Information Commission alleging that the respondents, including the Council on Developmental Disabilities, violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to maintain and provide copies of its Transition Committee's agendas and minutes. The Transition Committee contended that it was a "personnel search committee" and, therefore, its proceedings were not meetings within the meaning of C.G.S. §1-200(2) and its proceedings did not need to comply with the public notice and minutes of meetings requirements of the FOIA. The FOIC found that the council formed the committee to review the job description for the council's director position and to propose changes. The committee created minutes of its inaugural meeting, contrary to the committee chair's statement to the complainant that the committee did not have any minutes. These minutes stated the committee's mission as including the search for a successor to the executive director. The FOIC concluded that this exceeded the authority granted to the committee by the council. The sole purpose of the committee was not to recommend candidate(s) as required by C.G.S. §1-200(7) and it was not a "personnel search committee" within the meaning of C.G.S. §1-200(2). The committee's proceedings were meetings under C.G.S. §1-200(2) and were required to comply with the notice and minutes of meetings requirements of the FOIA. The committee violated C.G.S. §1-225 by failing to comply with any of the access requirements of C.G.S. §1-225(a) and to post its agendas in accordance with C.G.S. §1-225(c) and §1-225(d). The council chose a new executive director from candidates recommended by the committee. The FOIC declined to declare the committee's actions null and void or to impose civil penalties. The respondents were directed to create minutes and to make them available to the public and, henceforth, to comply with C.G.S. §1-225. The council was directed to arrange for an educational workshop.