Freedom of Information Act training at Town Hall in 2022. / Photo by Thane Grauel
Freedom of Information Act training at Town Hall in 2022. / Photo by Thane Grauel

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — An online meeting of the Representative Town Meeting to give new members an orientation on the Freedom of Information Act has been postponed after questions were raised about why it wasn’t publicly noticed.

The Zoom meeting was to take place at 7:30 Thursday. It will now be held in-person during the RTM meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Town Hall auditorium.

In an email thread that copied all members of the RTM, John McCarthy, a former member, suggested the meeting be noticed.

“The irony of holding an unnoticed RTM meeting which will be discussing FOIA should not be lost on any RTM member or member of the public,” he wrote.

Sal Liccione, a member from District 9, asked in the thread why the meeting wasn’t noticed, and said he believed it should be.

“I must admit, I too was confused as to why this Thursday’s meeting isn’t being noticed, especially since the meeting includes FOIA training,” Jennifer Johnson, another member from District 9, wrote. “I believe the prior RTM meetings that included FOIA training were noticed.

“Is it too late to notice the meeting?” Johnson asked.

Moderator Jeff Wieser, District 4, responded that it was.

“I apologize for a last minute change of schedule,” he wrote to the members on Wednesday.

RTM Moderator Jeff Wieser

“You will have seen concerns regarding the noticing of tomorrow night’s orientation session for new members,” he said. “I am told that these sessions in the past have not been noticed as they are meant to be informational for new members and for returning members who might want a refresher on some of the requirements of FOIA and committee workings, etc.

“Because of the concerns, however, [Town Clerk] Jeff Dunkerton and I agreed that the session is best noticed as we ensure transparency even in informational sessions,” Wieser said.

“A difficulty arises in that physical meetings can be noticed 24 hours in advance; but virtual meetings such as our Zoom tomorrow night require 48 hours,” he continued. “So to notice tomorrow’s Zoom meeting is impossible, and the session is postponed.

“Therefore we will have our new member orientation as item 3 of our noticed December 5 meeting agenda next week,” Wieser said.

Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 35 years. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.