FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Robert L. Silvestri and AFSCME Local 387,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 88-311

 

Personnel Officer, Connecticut Correctional Center at Cheshire,

 

Respondent January 25, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 7, 1988 and continued to December 12, 1988, at which time the complainants 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 16, 1988 the complainants made a request of the respondent for records pertaining to the handling of saw blades by the support services group, which receives materials and distributes or stores them. The complainants made specific reference to documents relating to sources of saw blades, audits, methods of disposal, disbursements and returns.

 

3. By letter dated July 26, 1988 the acting personnel director notified the complainants that the requested records were not available in the personnel office.

 

4. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on August 1, 1988 the complainants appealed the denial of their request for records.

 

5. It is found that the requested records are not, in fact, available in the respondent's office. However, it has been the practice of the respondent to receive and respond to all requests for records submitted by the complainants under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

6. It is further found that the acting personnel director was not aware of the respondent's policy and responded accordingly.

 

Docket #FIC 88-311 Page Two

 

7. Upon receipt of the complaint in this matter following his return from a vacation the respondent contacted the lieutenant in charge of the support services group and arranged for the requested records to be provided to the complainants. The bulk of the documents were provided between August and early September, 1988. Some of the documents provided were unwanted and were returned by the complainants. By letter dated September 21, 1988 the respondent confirmed that all of the requested information had been provided.

 

8. The complainants claim that they did not receive all requested documents and cite purchase orders or requisitions as examples of documents which would reflect the sources of saw blades but which were not provided.

 

9. It is found that the lieutenant in charge of the support services group conducted a search of the agency's files and provided those records which he believed were responsive to the complainants' request.

 

10. It is further found that neither purchase orders nor requisitions were specifically requested by the complainants. At hearing the respondent stated that such records would be made available if specifically requested and identified.

 

11. Under the circumstances, it is found that the respondent's response to the complainants' request for records did not violate 1-15 or 1-19(a), G.S. and that all requested records have been provided.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

2. The Commission notes that the arrangement by which the complainants submit all requests for records to the respondent's office imposes an unusual burden on the respondent and makes it unusually difficult for the Commission to determine whether there has been compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The Commission strongly recommends that future requests for records be directed not only to the respondent, but to the agency which maintains the records.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 25, 1989.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission