Norris v. Board of Selectman
The gathering by the respondent board of selectmen to negotiate with respect to collective bargaining was not considered a "meeting" as that term is defined in C.G.S. §1-200(2) and the discussions took place outside of the Freedom of Information Act. Jon Norris appealed to the Freedom of Information Commission alleging that the town of Southbury and its Board of Selectmen violated the Freedom of Information Act during a regular meeting by improperly discussing in executive session the eligibility of the first selectman to participate in the police pension plan and by improperly inviting several individuals into the executive session. The Freedom of Information Commission found that at the time of the meeting, the contract between the police union and town was being renegotiated. The pension plan and who qualified as a plan participant was part of the contract negotiations and was the subject of the alleged executive session. The discussions regarding the eligibility of certain individuals to participate in the police pension plan constituted "strategy and negotiations with respect to collective bargaining" within the meaning of C.G.S. §1-200(2) which provides, relevantly, that the term "'[m]eeting' does not include:. . . . strategy or negotiations with respective to collective bargaining . . ." The respondents argued that they properly held the discussions in executive session. The FOIC concluded that the closed session was not an executive session as that term is used in C.G.S. §1-225(a) and §1-200(6). Rather the discussion at issue took place outside the FOIA, in that the gathering by the respondents to negotiate with respect to collective bargaining is not considered a meeting as that term is defined in C.G.S. §1-200(2). The respondents did not violate the FOIA as alleged. The complaint was dismissed.