FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Joseph P. Ganim,
against Docket #FIC 90-280
Bridgeport Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA),
Respondent(s) March 13, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 6, 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 of complaint dated July 23, 1990, and filed with the Commission on July 27, 1990, the complainant alleged that the respondent failed to respond to his July 9 and 12, 1990 written requests for documents.
4. It is found that by letter to the respondent dated July 9, 1990 (hereinafter "first request"), the complainant requested copies of:
(a) signed agreements pertaining to sewer use between the city of Bridgeport and the town of Trumbull (hereinafter "agreements"), including an agreement dated December 27, 1977;
(b) a draft agreement between Bridgeport and Trumbull on sewer use (hereinafter "draft"); and
(c) any contracts entered into by the respondent with any sewer users (hereinafter "contracts"), including but not limited to any contracts for rate credits with nine specified commercial entities.
Docket #FIC 90-280 Page 2
5. It is found that by letter to the respondent dated July 12, 1990 (hereinafter "second request"), the complainant requested copies of all WPCA rate filings for 1988, 1989 and 1990, along with copies of their publications (hereinafter "rates and publications").
6. It is found that the requested information is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
7. By letter dated August 13, 1990 (hereinafter "August letter") the respondent informed the complainant that there had been full compliance with the requests for copies of the agreements, and the rates and publications.
8. The parties are agreed that there has been full compliance with the complainant's document requests for copies of agreements, and rates and publications.
9. It is found that in its August letter the respondent also informed the complainant that the draft is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(1), G.S., and the contracts are exempt from disclosure under P.A. 90-338 which amended 16-262c, G.S.
10. Section 1-19(b)(1) states in relevant part: "[disclosure] of . . . preliminary drafts or notes [shall not be required] provided the public agency has determined that the public interest in withholding such documents clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure . . . ."
11. It is found that the complainant has an early version of the draft.
12. It is found that the draft has been in a state of revision for approximately three years and the complainant is seeking a copy of the most recent draft.
13. It is found that the respondent failed to demonstrate that the public interest in withholding the draft clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosing it, as required by 1-19(b)(1), G.S., and therefore, failed to prove that the draft is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(1), G.S.
14. It is concluded that the draft is not a "preliminary draft or note" within the meaning of 1-19(b)(1), G.S., and the respondent violated 1-15, G.S., when it failed to promptly provide a copy of the draft.
Docket #FIC 90-280 Page 3
15. It is found that 90-338 is a public and not a special act concerning the privacy of individual billing records held by municipal utility companies.
16. It is found that pursuant to 2-32, G.S., P.A. 90-338 which amends 16-262c, G.S., did not become effective until October 1, 1990.
17. It is concluded that P.A. 90-338 does not govern this matter.
18. It is found that the complainant is requesting copies of any documents, including contracts, which detail how the respondent makes its determination to grant rate credits to industrial water users, including the nine specified.
19. The respondent maintains that state and municipal ordinances set the rates for user fees for industrial and residential users.
20. It is found that the respondent is best situated to assist and focus the efforts of the complainant in his quest for information and documentation regarding the calculation and award of rate credits to industrial water users.
21. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15, G.S., when it failed to promptly provide copies of the contracts of the nine industrial users to the complainant, and any information or documentation regarding the calculation and award of rate credits for industrial water users.
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 strictly comply with the disclosure requirements of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
2. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with a certified copy of the draft more fully described in paragraphs 4(b) and 12 of the findings, above.
Docket #FIC 90-280 Page 4
3. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with either certified copies of the contracts more fully described in paragraphs 4(c) of the findings, above, or a sworn affidavit that it has made a diligent search for the contracts and none exist.
4. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with copies of documents which describe the process by which the respondent calculates and awards rate credits to industrial water users.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 13, 1991.
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 90-280 Page 5
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:
JOSEPH P. GANIM
4666 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606
BRIDGEPORT WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AUTHORITY
c/o John H. Barton, Esq.
Associate City Attorney
202 State Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission