FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Horace W. Boynton,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-214

 

First Selectman of the Town of Westport,

 

Respondent September 9, 1987

 

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 21, 1987, 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 July 9, 1987, the complainant requested copies of all draft proposals prepared by the State Department of Transportation (hereinafter "DOT"), or the Town of Westport concerning the state transfer of the Bridge Street Bridge and adjacent portions of Route 136 to the Town of Westport.

 

3. On July 22, 1987, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the final proposed agreement between the Town of Westport and the DOT, dated March 1987, but refused to release any prior draft proposals.

 

4. By letter of complaint dated July 28, 1987 and filed with the Commission on July 30, 1987, the complainant alleged the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act in her failure to release the draft proposals.

 

5. The respondent claims the draft proposals differ substantially from the final proposed agreement and therefore are preliminary drafts or notes, exempt from public disclosure under 1-19(b)(1), G.S.

 

6. The respondent further claims the DOT maintains the records requested and it would be more appropriate for the complainant to seek access to such documents from the DOT.

 

Docket #FIC 87-214 Page 2

 

7. It is found the DOT submitted a typed draft proposal to the respondent in November 1986, which the respondent sent back to DOT, with suggested revisions.

 

8. It also is found the DOT submitted a revised typed draft proposal to the respondent in February 1987, which the respondent likewise sent back to DOT, with suggested revisions.

 

9. It further is found the draft proposals comprised the terms of an unapproved contractual agreement between the DOT and the Town of Westport regarding the state tranfer of the Bridge Street Bridge to the Town of Westport.

 

10. It also is found the draft proposals are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

11. It further is found the respondent failed to prove the draft proposals constituted preliminary drafts or notes within the meaning of 1-19(b)(1), G.S.

 

12. It therefore is concluded the draft proposals are not exempt from public disclosure under 1-19(b)(1), G.S.

 

13. It further is found that even if the draft proposals were preliminary drafts or notes under 1-19(b)(1),G.S., they are reports that comprise part of the process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated within the meaning of 1-19(c)(1), G.S., and therefore would be subject to diclosure under 1-19a, G.S.

 

14. It further is concluded the respondent failed to prove the draft proposals are exempt from public disclosure under any other provision of the Freedom of Information Act, state statute or federal law.

 

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 copies of the draft proposals described in paragraphs 7 and 8 of the findings, above, before September 15, 1987.

 

2. The respondent shall henceforth act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 87-214 page 3

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 9, 1987.

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission