In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


David M. DeFelice,




against Docket #FIC 88-399


Charles Tisdale, Director of Policy and Development of the City of Bridgeport,


Respondent January 25, 1989


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 15, 1988, at which time the parties appeared and presented evidence 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 complaint filed September 29, 1988 the complainant alleged that on September 23, 1988 and on September 26, 1988, the respondent denied his oral requests to review all files related to the work performed by Schatz and Schatz, a law firm employed by the city of Bridgeport.


3. It is found that on September 23, 1988, the respondent denied the complainant's oral request to inspect files.


4. It is further found that on September 23, 1988, the respondent told the complainant to put his request in writing.


5. It is found that on September 26, 1988, the respondent again denied the complainant's request to inspect the files and told him to put the request in writing.


6. It is found that, on September 26, 1988, the complainant filed a written request for the records.


Docket #FIC 88-399 page two


7. It is found that the gravamen of the complainant's letter of complaint is his contention that the Freedom of information Act does not require him to put his request to inspect records in writing, and that, therefore, the respondent violated his rights by requiring a written request to inspect and further that the respondent did not respond to the request within the required time period.


8. The respondent moved to dismiss the complaint because no violation had occurred in that a written request is required by the statute and, that in any event, the respondent respondent promptly.


9. It is found that neither 1-15, nor 1-19(a), G.S., require a person to put a request to inspect records in writing.


10. It is found that the respondent placed an illegal precondition upon the complainant's right to inspect the records when he required a written request to inspect the files and that, in the circumstances of this case, did not respond promptly to the complainant's request.


11. The complainant seeks a civil penalty.


12. It is found that under the circumstances of this complaint, a civil penalty is not appropriate.


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

1. The respondent shall henceforth comply with 1-19(a), G.S.


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



Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission