FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Robert Parisi,

 

Complainant,

 

against Docket #FIC 88‑277

 

Superintendent of Schools of the Wallingford Board of Education and Wallingford Board of Education,

 

Respondents December 14, 1988

 

The above‑captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 29, 1988, 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. By letter dated July 6, 1988, the complainant requested the respondent superintendent provide him with copies of:

 

a. the offer made by Hewlett Packard ("HP") and/or Pertaine Systems, Inc. ("PSI") to the respondent board for HP3000 Model XE hardware and software;

 

b. any purchase and/or lease agreements offered or entered between HP and/or PSI and the respondent board;

 

c. any cancellation of purchase and/or lease agreements between HP, PSI and the respondent board;

 

d. the line item costs for the hardware and software for which the respondent superintendent requested a "waiver of bid process" in a letter dated May 3, 1988, to Mr. William W. Dickenson, Jr.;

 

e. the bid specifications for the purchase of hardware and software designed to replace the HP and PSI equipment leased on or about January 1, 1988;

 

f. HP's response to bid #87.212, with line item descriptions, pricing and the method of payment.

 

Docket #FIC 88‑277 Page Two

 

3. By letter dated July 7, 1988, and filed with the Commission July 11, 1988, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging the denial of his request.

 

4. The respondents claim that the records described in paragraphs 2a, b, c and e, above, do not exist, and that the town purchasing agent has the records described in paragraphs 2d and f, above, not the respondents.

 

5. It is found that the respondents answered the complainant's letter of July 6, 1988 in a timely manner.

 

6. It is found that in January 1988 the respondent board's business manager signed certain agreements with HP and PSI.

 

7. It is found that shortly after the Wallingford town council denied the respondents' request for a bid waiver at its meeting of May 24, 1988, the respondents disposed of the agreements and all related documents.

 

8. It is concluded, therefore, that at the time of the complainant's request the respondents did not have any records meeting the descriptions in paragraphs 2a and b, above.

 

9. It is found that on May 25, 1988, the respondent superintendent telephoned HP and PSI to inform them that only he had the authority to enter into contracts for the respondent board and that any contracts he did not sign were null and void.

 

10. It is found that on July 7, 1988, the respondent superintendent sent letters to HP and PSI, confirming that only he had authority to sign contracts.

 

11. The respondent superintendent claims that since he never signed an agreement in January 1988, no purchase or lease agreements with that date ever existed, and hence no cancellation of any agreement ever existed.

 

12. It is found that the letters described in paragraph 9, above, are not written cancellation of any contracts, and that, indeed, no records such as those described in paragraph 2c, above, existed at the time of the complainant's request.

 

13. It is found that copies of the records described in paragraph 2d, above, were provided by the respondents for the town council at its meeting of May 24, 1988, and that the respondents disposed of their copies after the meeting.

 

Docket # FIC 88‑277 Page Three

 

14. It is found that the respondents did not have the records described in paragraphs 2d and f, above, at the time of the complainant's request, and that the town purchasing agent maintains these records.

 

15. The respondents claim that, since no equipment was leased in January 1988, no records such as those described in paragraph 2e, above, exist.

 

16. It is found that the respondents leased no equipment in January 1988 and that in May 1988 they were not replacing anything leased in January 1988, but rather they were still going through the process of procuring equipment.

 

17. It is found that the respondents provided the town council with copies of bid specifications for hardware and software at its May 24, 1988 meeting, but that these were not designed to replace anything leased in January 1988.

 

18. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents never had any records such as those described in paragraph 2e, above.

 

19. Thus it is concluded that the respondents did not violate any provisions of the Freedom of Information Act with respect to the requested records.

 

20. It is also found that the respondents reasonably believed that the complainant, who is a member of the town council, already had copies of the records described in paragraphs 2d and 17.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended based on the record in the above‑captioned complaint:

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

2. The Commission urges the respondents to contact the State Records Administrator to better inform themselves about the requirements of the records retention statutes and schedules.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of December 14, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission