FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Kris Cieplak and Concerned Citizens for Clean Air,

 

Complainants,

 

against Docket #FIC 89-136

 

Comptroller, City of Ansonia,

 

Respondent November 8, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 18, 1989, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The Hearing Officer ordered the respondent to file an affidavit with the Commission by September 25, 1989, as an after-filed exhibit provided for in the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, 1-21j-36. The respondent filed his affidavit on October 6, 1989.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated January 31, 1989, the complainants requested the respondent provide them with access to records of the money paid special counsel Barry Zitser for services handling the Newest contract and the Crouse Co. contract for the City of Ansonia.

 

3. By letter dated March 31, 1989, the complainants reiterated their complaint.

 

4. By letter dated April 19, 1989, and filed with the Commission on April 21, 1989, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging the respondent failed to comply with their request.

 

5. By letter dated April 25, 1989, the respondent sent the complainant a list of the checks paid by the City of Ansonia to Attorney Zitser from November 18, 1987, to October 14, 1988, and the amounts of those checks.

 

6. It is found that the respondent did not respond to the complainants' written request for records in writing or

 

Docket #FIC 89-136 Page Two

 

otherwise within four business days.

 

7. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1-21i(a), G.S., by failing to respond to the complainants' request within four business days.

 

8. It is found that on September 18, 1989, the date of the hearing on this matter, the complainants received copies of all bills sent by Attorney Barry Zitser to the City of Ansonia for work relating to the relevant contracts done from June 16, 1987, through January 30, 1989.

 

9. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

10. It is found that the respondent's April 25, 1989, letter was created to respond to the complainants' inquiry and is not a copy of the records to which the complainants' requested access.

 

11. It is found that the bills which the complainants received copies of on September 18, 1989, fall within the description in the complainants' request.

 

12. It is found that the respondent did not provide these bills to the complainants reasonably promptly.

 

13. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainants with access to the bills promptly upon request.

 

14. It is found that the City of Ansonia first retained Attorney Zitser to handle the relevant Crouse Co. contract on June 9, 1986.

 

15. It is found that any bills relevant to those contracts sent by Attorney Zitser for work done before June 16, 1987, were paid with a state grant administered by the City of Shelton and are on file in that city, not the City of Ansonia.

 

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

 

1. The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-15, 1-19(a) and 1-21i(a), G.S.

 

2. Due to the long time period in which neither records nor explanations were forthcoming to the complainants, the Commission urges the respondent to provide the complainants in

 

Docket #FIC 89-136 Page Three

 

quickly with the records of interest to them which are on file with the City of Shelton.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 8, 1989.

 

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 89-136 Page Four

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

KRIS CIEPLAK AND CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CLEAN AIR

27 State Street

Ansonia, CT 06401

 

COMPTROLLER, CITY OF ANSONIA

c/o James E. Sheehy, Esq.

Corporation Counsel

253 Main Street

Ansonia, CT 06401

 

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission