FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Susan G. Kniep,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-481

 

Office of the Mayor of the Town of East Hartford,

 

Respondent May 24, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 23, 1989, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 letter of complaint received December 8, 1988, the complainant alleged that the respondent had denied her a copy of a letter or letters from the acting Republican town chairman.

 

3. It is found that on December 1, 1988, the complainant made an oral request to the administrative assistant of the respondent for a copy of a letter or letters which he had received from the acting Republican town chairman.

 

4. It is found that the requested record contained names of persons whom the acting Republican chairman wished to nominate to fill vacancies in town boards.

 

5. It is found that the administrative assistant told the complainant that he could not provide the list until he checked with the town attorney.

 

6. It is found that within one half hour of her oral request the complainant presented the administrative assistant with a written request for the same materials she had requested orally.

 

Docket #FIC88-481 page 2

 

7. It is found that the town attorney informed the complainant on December 6, 1988, that the requested records had been returned to the acting Republican town chairman because they were incomplete.

 

8. The respondent moved to dismiss the complaint alleging that it has discretion to dispose of routine correspondence as it chooses.

 

9. The respondent claimed that it acted lawfully because under Schedule I for retention and destruction of general administration records, published by the state public records administrator, the minimum retention period required for routine correspondence is left to the discretion of the filing officer.

 

10. It is found that the claim of the respondent is unpersuasive because nothing in the schedule relied upon authorizes it to remove correspondence after a request pursuant to 1-15 and 1-19, G.S., has been made.

 

11. It is found further that the respondent failed to prove that the requested record was routine correspondence.

 

12. It is concluded based upon the reasons stated at paragraphs 10 and 11 that the respondent's motion to dismiss should be denied.

13. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., when it denied the complainant copies of the records requested by her by returning them to the acting Republican town chairman.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall reconstruct the material requested by the complainant, described herein at paragraphs 3 and 4, and shall provide her with a copy of the reconstructed correspondence within two weeks of the date this decision is mailed.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 24, 1989.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission