The Freedom of Information Commission recently ruled that a meeting of a municipal official and a group of volunteers under his supervision did not qualify as a “meeting” under the Freedom of Information Act and need not be open to the public.

A Director of Planning Program and Development regularly met with a group of volunteers under his supervision to discuss recycling efforts. An individual, Robert Gross, who was not a member of this group sought to attend this monthly meeting, but was not permitted to attend.

Following Mr. Gross’s FOIA complaint, the Commission found that the volunteer members of the committee did not perform any executive or political functions of policy making.  Additionally, there was no evidence that the volunteers had supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power over the town’s recycling activities.

According to the Commission, Mr. Gross was not excluded from a meeting where governmental policies were discussed or formulated, but was excluded from a meeting of volunteers working under the supervision of a municipal employee’s supervision. Finding no violation, the Commission dismissed the complaint.