WALLINGFORD — The Minutes and Agendas section of the town website has become more robust lately, thanks to an effort to get more materials posted online.
The Town Council ordinance committee considered at its September meeting creating an ordinance requiring agendas and minutes from town board and commissions to be posted online, but ultimately no ordinance was proposed.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said in an Oct. 2 letter to Ordinance Committee Chairman Chris Shortell that going forward, the minutes and agendas of all boards and commissions will be posted to the town website.
There's still a backlog of materials, and it’s unknown whether an effort will be pursued to get them online.
Shortell said Monday that he’s less concerned with the backlog of agendas and minutes and is happy to see that the intent of the discussion — to encourage more materials to be posted online — is going forward.
During the weeks since that discussion, agendas and minutes have been posted on the town website with more frequency, including those of the Parks and Recreation Commission, which hadn’t been updated since 2013.
Currently, there are minutes and agendas from 23 town boards and commissions archived on the town website.
According to the Town Clerk’s office, 15 groups are active, though how often they meet varies, so it’s hard to tell which are up to date and which have gaps. Some, like the Historic Properties Commission, only meet once a year.
Town Councilor and Ordinance Committee Chairman Chris Shortell. | File photo
Lynn Wolff, a part-time secretary in the town Program Planning Office, is in charge of posting the materials to the town website.
Wolff said Monday that after the September meeting, board and commission members were "reminded again that there is a need to post agendas” and that “people have been more diligent.”
“I think people have been doing what they’re expected to do,” she said.
Some boards and commissions additionally have sent past materials from this calendar year, she said, but others took the reminder to mean going forward they should post their materials.
"I think people have been doing what they’re expected to do."
-Lynn Wolff, Program Planning Office secretary
While it would be convenient for the public to view Wallingford’s meeting agendas and minutes online, it’s not a violation of the state Freedom of Information Act if the town doesn’t offer the material on its website.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, cities, towns and school districts are exempt from a rule that requires public agencies to post meeting agendas and minutes online, if a website exists. The only items that towns must post online are special meeting notices and agendas.
Town boards and commissions must turn in meeting agendas to the Town Clerk at least 24 hours before the meeting. Records of votes at meetings must be turned in within 48 hours, and minutes within seven days.
Paper copies of minutes and agendas from town board and commissions are available in the Town Clerk’s office. Reviewing documents is free but staff may charge a copy fee per page.