FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Dennis McGavran, Merrill Gay and the Waterbury Citizen Action Group,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 86-297

 

Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Waterbury,

 

Respondents February 25, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 11, 1986, at which time the complainants and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated October 21, 1986 the complainants made a request of the respondents for copies of the reports submitted by the engineering firm, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., concerning the construction of a waste-to-energy facility in the City of Waterbury.

 

3. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on October 22, 1986 the complainants appealed the respondents' failure to provide the requested reports.

 

4. It is found that Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., has prepared the following five reports concerning the construction of a waste-to-energy facility in the Waterbury area:

 

a. A landscape overview which identifies problems of municipal solid waste and the management thereof generally, with some particular application of generic information to the City of Waterbury submitted in April 1982;

 

b. A finalized report concerning an initial proposal to construct a waste-recovery plant in Naugatuck submitted in August 1982;

 

Docket #FIC 86-297 Page 2

 

c. Two reports submitted in 1983 concerning the construction of a waste-to-energy facility in Waterbury (southend site); and

 

d. A 1986 report analyzing and listing potential sites for the construction of a waste-to-energy facility in Waterbury.

 

5. It is found that the reports identified in paragraph 4, above, are in the possession of the respondent mayor and not the respondent board of aldermen.

 

6. It is also found that the complainants have a copy of the report identified in paragraph 4a, above.

 

7. It is found that the complainants have a copy of the report identified in paragraph 4d, above, however, per orders of the respondent mayor, cost estimates as well as other information have been expurgated.

 

8. The respondent mayor claims that the subject documents are exempt from mandatory disclosure as constituting a preliminary draft or note within the meaning of 1-19(b)(1), G.S.

 

9. It is found that Mr. Buckley, a nominated member of the board of directors for the newly created Waterbury Resource Recovery Authority has inspected all of the reports in question.

 

10. It is further found that the mayor, the city engineer and Mr. Buckley have inspected the report identified in paragraph 4d, above.

 

11. It is found that at the time of the complainants' request, the reports in question were all substantially complete in both form and content and did not constitute preliminary drafts or notes within the meaning of 1-19(b)(1), G.S.

 

12. It is concluded that the respondent mayor violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to disclose copies of the

requested reports promptly.

 

13. At the hearing, the respondents requested an in camera inspection of the reports in question by the presiding officer.

 

14. Pursuant to 1-21j-35(a) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, in camera inspections by the presiding officer are prohibited. The respondents' request was therefore denied.

 

Docket #FIC 86-297 Page 3

 

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

 

1. The respondent mayor shall forthwith provide the complainants with unexpurgated copies of the reports more fully described in paragraphs 4b, 4c and 4d of the findings, above.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 25, 1987.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission