FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Richard R. Lindquist,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 86-46

 

Assistant Dean of Finance, UCONN Medical School of the State of Connecticut,

 

Respondent March 26, 1986

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 5, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. In mid-January, 1986 the respondent was asked to assist in obtaining information needed for a survey being conducted by the research committee of the medical faculty council. The complainant is the chairman of the research committee and a member of the faculty of the department of pathology of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. The respondent agreed to assist and asked that the complainant submit a written request for such assistance.

 

3. By letter dated January 22, 1986 the complainant made a request of the respondent for access to records of the pathology department's salary support on grants (hereinafter "SSOG") income and itemized disbursements for the last 3 years.

 

4. The respondent contacted the department head of pathology, Dr. Irving Goldschneider, and asked him to submit the requested information to the complainant on February 10, 1986. At that time Dr. Goldschneider indicated that the information being requested was much more than had been asked for in the survey.

 

5. On February 7, 1986 the respondent spoke to the complainant and informed him that Dr. Goldschneider was completing the survey but that the information should not be sought from one department only.

 

Docket #FIC 86-46 Page Two

 

6. By letter dated February 10, 1986 the complainant made a request of the respondent for access to records of all departments with SSOG income showing the SSOG income and itemized disbursements for the last 3 years.

 

7. In a letter dated February 12, 1986 the respondent stated that he had discussed the complainant's request with all department heads with SSOG income and that it would be difficult to interpret the data without an understanding of the budget process. The respondent indicated that because SSOG funds were departmental funds under the control of each department head, the complainant should contact each department head for information.

 

8. By letter dated February 18, 1986 the complainant made a request of the respondent for access to records of all departments with SSOG income showing all income and all itemized disbursements for each income source for the last 3 years.

 

9. In a letter dated February 20, 1986 the respondent denied the complainant's request for information regarding departmental budgets and again suggested that the complainant address his request to each department head.

 

10. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on February 21, 1986 the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to provide the requested records.

 

11. SSOG funds are those monies made available for the use of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine when a percentage of a faculty member's salary is paid by externally funded grants and contracts. A portion of the funds are distributed each month to the dean of the school of medicine and the remaining funds are distributed quarterly to the chairmen of the departments of which the researchers are members. It is the departmental funds and not the dean's funds which are the subject of the complainant's inquiry.

 

12. It is found that records of the receipt and disbursement of funds supplied to the University of Connecticut School of Medicine are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

13. The respondent does not claim any exemption from disclosure for the requested records, but claims that because SSOG funds are department funds the complainant should contact the department heads to obtain the requested information, and that the complainant has failed to do so.

 

14. It is found that the respondent does not have physical possession of the requested records, but it is within his authority to retrieve the records from the various department chairmen.

 

Docket #FIC 86-46 Page Three

 

15. It is also found that the respondent's objection to the complainant's request on the ground that it was not necessarily made on behalf of the research committee is without merit.

 

16. It is concluded that the requested records are subject to disclosure by the respondent pursuant to 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with access to inspect the records of all departments with SSOG income showing all income and all itemized disbursements for each income source for the 3 years prior to the complainant's request.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 26, 1986.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission