Shelton closed-door executive session accidentally broadcast live

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — A Planning and Zoning Commission executive session that participants believed was being held in private was broadcast live for all to hear on the city’s YouTube channel Wednesday.

The commission has been meeting regularly on Wednesdays, with some commissioners live in the City Hall auditorium and others calling in. The meeting is broadcast live and can be accessed on the city’s website.

On Wednesday, commission Chair Virginia Harger called the meeting to order, with Harger, Charles Kelly and Elaine Matto in person at City Hall and fellow commissioners Jimmy Tickey, Ruth Parkins and Mark Widomski on the phone.

After roll call, the commission voted to go into closed-door executive session, with the agenda stating “Legal Updates — 303 Old Bport Ave.,” which has been the source of a legal battle between the city and owners of Hush It Up LLC, a proposed speakeasy-themed café for the location that Planning and Zoning denied in 2017.

The three commissioners at City Hall got up and moved to a private location. The other commissioners remained on the phone, as did city corporation counsel Fran Teodosio. That was when the live stream should have ended, but it did not.

While the in-person commissioners were off-screen, their audio link remained on.

Commissioners on the phone were asked if they were alone, all of whom said yes, and then the executive session began with members discussing several pending legal matters audible for anybody who was still watching the feed.

Teodosio updated the commission on four lawsuits involving the commission. No votes were taken, and after only a few minutes, the executive session ended, and the regular meeting was reconvened.

“The commission’s last executive session was late February so an update on legal matters was overdue,” said Harger. “We expected the technology to function properly, and I and staff were disappointed that it did not do so.

“If an executive session is necessary before the commission resumes evening meetings with everyone personally attending,” added Harger, “the staff will have to make sure it has a system in place that will allow us to conduct the executive session in a proper manner.”