In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Zeke McCormack and The Evening Sentinel


Complainant Docket #FIC 86-69




Administrative Assistant to the Mayor of Shelton


Respondent April 23, 1986


The above captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 2, 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 section 1-18a(a), G.S.


2. By letter dated February 27, 1986, the complainant requested copies of any revenue sharing requests from city departments filed for 1986-1987.


3. On March 13, 1986, the complainant filed a complaint with this Commission alleging that he had been denied access to the reports by the respondent, and that he had never received any written response to his request.


4. Various offices of the town sent to the mayor their revenue sharing requests to enable him to prepare a Revenue Sharing Budget in accordance with the Charter.


Docket #FIC 86-69 page 2


5. The respondent claimed that these revenue sharing requests were exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(1), G.S., which exempts from disclosure


"preliminary drafts or notes provided the public agency has determined that the public interest in withholding such documents clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure."


6. 1-19(c), G.S., clarifies 1-19(b)(1), G.S., providing in relevant part that:


Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, disclosure shall be required of (1) interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters, advisory opinions, recommendations or any report comprising part of the process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated...."


7. It is found that the requests for revenue sharing funds which have been submitted to the mayor are recommendations or reports comprising part of the process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated; and that, therefore, the records sought by the complainant are subject to disclosure under 1-19(a), G.S.


8. The failure of the respondent to respond to the request of the complainant in writing in four business days is not found here to be a violation of the act, but rather to trigger the right of the complainant to file his complaint with the Commission in the absence of a written denial by the respondent, see 1-21i(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 provide the complainant with the records requested, described at paragraph 2 herein.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of April 23, 1986.


Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission