FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Kathleen Eldergill,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 86-148

 

Southeastern Connecticut Regional Recovery Authority,

 

Respondent September 23, 1986

 

The above captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 20, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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. By letter dated April 15, 1986 the complainant made a request of the respondent for the following documents:

 

a. Minutes of the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resource Recovery Authority's (hereinafter "SCRRRA") April 9, 1986 meeting;

 

b. SCRRRA's draft application to the Siting Council;

 

c. SCRRRA's application to the Planning and Zoning Commission for the Town of Preston;

 

d. SCRRRA's draft application filed pursuant to the Coastal Area Management Act;

 

e. Request for proposal dated October, 1985, authored by the SCRRRA;

 

f. Draft proposal of American Re-fuel dated November 12, 1985;

 

Docket #FIC 86-148 Page 2

 

g. Letter dated November 1, 1985 from Mr. Weaver to Mr. Manning;

 

h. A document entitled environmental inventory dated December 6, 1985, authored by the firm of Fuss & O'Neil; and

 

i. A copy of the bond issued to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, dated December 24, 1985.

 

3. By letter dated April 29, 1986 the respondent agreed to provide the complainant with copies of the documents set forth in paragraphs 2a, 2e, 2f, 2g and 2i, above. With respect to the other documents requested, the respondent claims they constitute preliminary notes and drafts as defined in 1-19(b)(1), G.S. and are therefore exempt from disclosure.

 

4. From denial of access to all of the requested documents, the complainant appealed to the Commission by complaint filed on May 28, 1986.

 

5. At the hearing before the Commission, the respondent moved to dismiss the complaint for improper service of process.

 

6. It is found that Roger E. Koontz serves as legal counsel for the respondent.

 

7. It is also found that the complainant's letter of request identified in paragraph 2, above, was mailed to the respondent's counsel and it was counsel who subsequently denied the complainant's request for copies of the documents in question.

 

8. It is therefore concluded that by mailing the Notice of Hearing and Order to Show Cause to the respondent's counsel, the respondent in the above-captioned matter was properly served.

 

9. The respondent's motion to dismiss was therefore denied.

 

10. The respondent claims that the subject document is protected from compulsory disclosure as constituting a preliminary draft or note within the meaning of 1-19(b)(1), G.S.

 

11. It is found that the applications and report in question were prepared by attorneys, financial and engineering consultants retained by the respondent and members of the respondent authority concerning a waste-to-energy facility to be constructed in the Town of Preston.

 

Docket #FIC 86-148 Page 3

 

12. It is found that on or about April 9, 1986, the respondent's project coordinator permitted the complainant to inspect the documents in question, but would not permit her to copy them on the basis that they were "drafts."

 

13. It is found that the documents in question were prepared in October 1985 and at the time of the complainant's request, were substantially complete in both form and content and did not constitute a preliminary draft or note within the meaning of 1-19(b)(1), G.S.

 

14. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to disclose a copy of the requested records promptly.

 

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 a copy of the documents identified in paragraphs 2b, 2c, 2d and 2h of the findings, above.

 

2. The respondent shall henceforth comply with 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

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

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission