FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Regina E. Link
against Docket #FIC #89-142
First Selectman, Town of Easton
Respondent March 28, 1990
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 3, 1989, December 22, 1989 and February 2, 1990, at which time the complainant 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 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 received April 17, 1989, the complainant made a broad request for forms and records pertaining to workmen's compensation and insurance claims against the Town of Easton for the period 1985 through 1989, as well as any and all documents referencing herself.
3. By letter dated April 27, 1989, the respondent provided the complainant with copies of five letters pertaining to her workmen's compensation claim.
4. In her appeal filed May 2, 1989, the complainant alleges that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act in several ways:
a) by failing to maintain records;
b) by destroying records in violation of 1-21k, G.S.;
c) by not providing records promptly so that the complainant could have the records in time for a hearing scheduled for April 26, 1989;
Docket #FIC 89-142 page two
d) by not retaining copies of documents which were addressed to the respondent in his capacity as first selectman.
e) by not requiring other departments of the Easton town government to provide records to satisfy the complainant's April 15, 1989 request.
5. It is found that on January 22, 1988, rather than sending copies, the respondent forwarded his original file concerning the workmen's compensation claim of the complainant to the workmen's compensation manager of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co.
6. It is found that 1-19(a), G.S., requires that each public agency shall maintain all public records in its custody at its regular office.
7. It is concluded that the respondent violated the records retention requirements of 1-19(a), G.S., when he failed to retain the original workmen's compensation claim file of the complainant in his office.
8. It is found that on or about April 27, 1989, after the complainant filed her April 15, 1989 request for records, the respondent requested and received copies of records from the Board of Education of Easton, which had already been received by the complainant.
9. It is found that on or about April 27, 1989, the respondent forwarded the copies of the records received from the Board of Education of Easton to Attorney Jason M. Dodge, who was to represent the Easton Board of Education and the Hartford Insurance Group at a worker's compensation hearing on the complainant's workmens compensation claim.
10. It is found, that on or about April 27, 1989, the respondent was merely transmitting records already on file with the Board of Education.
11. It is found that often the respondent did not maintain in his own files copies of records addressed to him in his capacity as first selectman, but rather he directed the
Docket #FIC 89-142 page three
records to persons in other departments as he deemed appropriate.
12. It is found that 1-15, et seq., G.S., fail to address the questions raised by the complainant concerning whether the respondent is required to maintain in his files copies of all records which are addressed to him in his capacity as first selectman.
13. It is concluded that the respondent did not violate the Freedom of Information Act when he failed to provide the complainant with copies of the records which he sent to Dodge in April 1989, or when he failed to send copies of records originally addressed to him in his capacity as first selectman, which were in the custody of other town departments.
14. It is found that the respondent did not destroy records requested by the complainant in violation of 1-21k, G.S.
15. It is found that the complainant failed to inform the respondent when she made her April 15, 1989 request for records that the records were needed by her for a hearing scheduled for April 26, 1989.
16. It is found that on April 25, 1989, when the complainant requested immediate compliance with her Freedom of Information request for records, the respondent did immediately provide her with the records.
17. It is concluded that under the facts of this case, the respondent did not fail to provide the records promptly.
18. It is found that the complainant had received copies of records pertaining to her workmen's compensation claim from other departments of the Town of Easton on several occasions prior to her request to the respondent.
19. It is found that under the facts of this case, where on several occasions the complainant has already requested records from different departments of the town, the respondent had no responsibility to require them to respond to a request for records which was specifically addressed to him.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Henceforth the respondent shall maintain the public records in his custody in his regular office as required by 1-19(a), G.S.
Docket #FIC 89-142 page four
2. The respondent shall obtain the records provided to the workmen's compensation manager of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. on January 22, 1988, and shall provide copies to the complainant.
3. The complainant herein may wish to inquire of the state records administrator whether the record keeping practices of the respondent of which she complains are consistent with the requirements of 11-8, 11-8a, 8b, and 8c, G.S., and with the retention and destruction schedules issued pursuant to such statutes; and whether she has any remedy under those statutes.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 28, 1990.
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 89-142 page five
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:
REGINA E. LINK
P.O. Box 317
Easton, CT 06612
FIRST SELECTMAN, TOWN OF EASTON
c/o Michael P. A. Williams, Esq.
Marsh, Day & Calhoun
2507 Post Road
Southport, CT 06490
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission