FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Lucia Cinotti

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-25

 

Fire Marshal and Chief of Fire Department, City of Stratford

 

Respondents April 8, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 10, 1987, at which time the complainant 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. On January 30, 1987, the complainant requested access to inspect records of three-family houses found in violation of 11-3.5.3.5.1 of the Connecticut State Fire Safety Code, requiring the enclosure of furnaces in basement areas of such dwellings, and any records of the corrective measures taken.

 

3. On January 30, 1987, the respondents informed the complainant that they wished to consult with the Town Attorney about this matter and to contact them again in twenty-four hours.

 

4. By letter of complaint dated January 30, 1987 and filed with the Commission on February 3, 1987, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act in their refusal to allow her prompt access to examine the fire safety inspection files regarding three-family houses.

 

5. At the hearing, the respondents claimed that they would allow the complainant to peruse their fire safety inspection files concerning three-family houses if she would provide them with a list of addresses of those houses whose files she wished to inspect.

 

Docket #FIC 87-25 Page 2

 

6. It is found that the fire safety inspection files, more fully described in paragraph 2, above, contain information relating to the conduct of the public's business and are public records, subject to disclosure within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

7. It also is found that requiring the complainant to furnish the respondents with a list of addresses of those houses whose files she wishes to inspect places an unauthorized precondition on access to public records, in violation of 1-19(a), G.S.

 

8. It therefore is concluded that the respondents failed to provide the complainant prompt access to the fire safety inspection files, more fully described in paragragh 2, above, in violation of 1-19(a), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The respondents forthwith shall permit the complainant to examine the fire safety inspection files, more fully described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above, during the regular business hours of the respondents' clerical staff.

 

2. The respondents henceforth shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 8, 1987.

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission