In the Matter of a Complaint by                        FINAL DECISION


Ernie Hearion,




            against              Docket #FIC 88-459 (REMAND)


Chrysalis Center, Inc.,


                        Respondent                  March 14, 1990


            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 4, 1989, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.


            The Commission's final decision in this matter dated June 28, 1989, was appealed to the Superior Court.  On February 20, 1990, the Court (Mallone, J.) remanded the case to the Commission to consider changes in the law on which the Commission relied.


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


            1.  By letter dated November 15, 1988, the complainant requested the respondent provide him with access to:


            a.  the respondent's line item budget for the last audited fiscal year;


            b.  all policies, procedures and criteria used for admitting clients to the respondent's socialization and vocational programs;


            c.  documentation of the professional qualifications of those individuals directly responsible for applying the criteria;


            d.  documentation of the time spent by the Intake-Case Manager on each of the manager's two different duties;


            e.  the Intake-Case Manager's caseload, broken down according to each program;


            f.  and information on the relationship between the program cost center and the Intake-Casemanager Worker.


Docket #88-459 (REMAND)                          Page Two


            2.  By letter dated November 22, 1988, and filed November 23, 1988, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging the respondent failed to respond to his request.


            3.  The respondent claims it provided the complainant with all the relevant records it could find and that, in any event, it is not a public agency and not subject to the open records provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.


            4.  As to whether the respondent was created by government, the following facts are found:


            a.  The respondent was started informally by private individuals in the 1950's who met weekly to socialize in a suppportive group after being patients in Norwich Hospital.


            b.  In 1975 four private individuals incorporated the respondent, then named the Greater Hartford Social Club, as a non-profit charitable organization and the respondent then began seeking and receiving funds from private foundations and donations.


            5.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent was not created by government.


            6.  As to whether the respondent is funded by government, the following facts are found:


            a.  The respondent currently receives 83% of its funds in the form of grants from the state's Department of Mental Health (DMH), a percentage that has steadily increased in recent years.


            b.  The respondent receives additional funds for its program for the developmentally disabled from the state's Department of Education.


            c.  The respondent receives the remainder of its funds from United Way, revenue generated by programs, and private contributions.


            7.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent receives most of its funding from the state government.


            8.  As to whether the respondent is regulated by government, the following facts are found:


            a.  When DMH awards a grant to the respondent, the standard DMH form for the award details the conditions under which the funds are given.


Docket #FIC 88-459 (REMAND)                               Page Three


            b.  The first such condition requires the respondent to comply with all the DMH's regulations adopted under the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act.


            c.  Next the DMH requires the respondent to acknowledge in all its public communications the DMH's support and submit proof it is doing so.


            d.  The respondent also must act in compliance with Title XX of the Social Security Act so that the state funds it receives qualify for federal reimbursement to the DMH.


            e.  The DMH requires the respondent to comply with all state and federal non-discrimination laws and to provide the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities any information required to comply with 4-144a, G.S., and its amendments.


            f.  The DMH's award also subjects the respondent to the Governer's Executive Orders ##3 and 17 and gives both the DMH and the state labor commissioner jurisdiction over the respondent's performance of the contract as it relates to those executive orders.


            g.  The respondent must first serve patients discharged from state hospitals or extended care facilities operated under contract with DMH, before serving private patients.


            h.  The respondent must report every admission and discharge to the DMH, on DMH approved forms.


            i.  If the respondent receives funding from another source for a DMH-funded program, it must so inform the DMH within 10 days.


            j.  If the respondent wants to alter any of its DMH-funded programs, it must first obtain the DMH's approval.


            k.  If the respondent's budget changes more than certain minimal amounts, it must notify the DMH.


            l.  The respondent must give the DMH access to records of the DMH-funded programs at any reasonable time.


            m.  The respondent must provide the DMH with an audit prepared by an independent auditor to account to the DMH for the state-provided funds.  In addition, the state auditors have access to all the books and records of the respondent, and the respondent is required to hold onto its financial records for 3 years to allow for such access.


Docket #FIC 88-459 (REMAND)                               Page Four


            n.  The respondent must provide the DMH with quarterly financial reports and certain statistical reports.


            o.  Above a certain minimal amount, the respondent may not sub-contract the services it contracts to provide for the DMH without the DMH's approval.


            p.  The respondent must return to the DMH any surplus it has at the end of the fiscal year, proportionate with the funds it receives from the DMH.


            q.  The respondent must participate in the DMH's Management Information System by timely submitting forms for the system.


            r.  The contract for each DMH-funded program the respondent runs also details exactly what and how services are to be provided in that program.  For example, the contract for the respondent's residential program prohibits the respondent from discharging a resident to a shelter for the homeless.


            s.  If the respondent wants to terminate a program funded by the DMH, it must first give the department 30 days notice.


            t.  The DMH's Advisory Board reviews the quality of the respondent's programs every three years.  The review includes completion of a questionnaire, on-site inspections, and specific recommendations for improvements.


            u.  Since almost all the programs the respondent provides are funded by DMH, almost all of them are subject to these DMH regulations.


            9.  The Commission takes administrative notice of 17-226b and 17-226e, G.S., which also regulate the relationship between the respondent and the DMH.


            10.  It is concluded that the respondent is regulated by government to a significant extent.


            11.  As to whether the respondent performs a governmental function:


            a.  Most of the services the respondent provides to DMH traditionally were supplied by private non-profit organizations.


Docket #FIC 88-459 (REMAND)                               Page Five


            b.  As the state government over time has become more involved in providing these services to the public, it has often contracted with private organizations, such as the respondent, for their services.


            c.  At this time the relationship of the respondent to the state government is that of a vendor.


            d.  The state government is not required by law to use the respondent's services nor is the respondent required by law to provide those services for the state government.


            12.  Thus it is concluded that the respondent does not perform a governmental function.


            13.  It is concluded therefore that the respondent is not a public agency for Freedom of Information Act purposes.


            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.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 14, 1990.



                                    Tina C. Frappier

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission


Docket #FIC 88-459 (REMAND)                               Page Six






41 Niles Street, Apt. 3-2A

Hartford, CT 06105



c/o Mark K. Ostrowski, Esq.

William O. Riiska, Esq.

Shipman & Goodwin

799 Main Street

Hartford, CT 06103




c/o Jeanette C. Schreiber, Esq.

Valerie S. Biebuyck, Esq.

Wiggin & Dana

195 Church Street

P.O. Box 1832

New Haven, CT 06508



                                    Tina C. Frappier

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission