FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 90-366
William Gifford, Chief of Police, Windsor Locks Police Department,
Respondent May 8, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 29, 1991, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. Docket numbers FIC 90-376 and 90-387 were consolidated for hearing with the above-captioned matter.
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 September 17, 1990, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of every permit application by a "canvasser, hawker, peddler, solicitor, and salesman" (hereinafter "vendor") filed with the respondent's department from July 1, 1988 through September 18, 1990.
3. By letter dated and filed with the Commission on September 26, 1990, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent failed to respond to his request.
4. The complainant requests the imposition of a civil penalty.
5. It is found that the complainant's letter of request was delivered to the respondent's office on September 18, 1990.
6. It is found that although the respondent was out of his office on vacation from approximately September 17, 1990 through October 5, 1990, his duties were being carried out by a temporary replacement.
7. It is also found that neither the respondent nor the individual serving as his temporary replacement responded to the complainant's document request.
Docket #FIC 90-366 Page 2
8. On February 6, 1991 the respondent filed with the Commission an affidavit dated February 5, 1991 (hereinafter "the affidavit").
9. The affidavit stated that on "January 29, 1991 [the respondent] conducted a search of the [Windsor Locks (hereinafter "Town")] police department records for permit applications for vendors filed with the department during the time period of 7/1/88 through 9/18/90" and discovered vendor permit applications for the time period in question.
10. It is found that the Town vendor permit application requires the applicant to provide the following information:
(a) name and social security number;
(b) permanent and temporary addresses;
(c) daytime telephone number
(d) date of birth, age, race, sex, height, weight,
hair color and place of birth;
(e) name and address of employer;
(f) business information, including Connecticut sales
tax, food service license and charitable funds
solicitation registration numbers;
(g) arrest information; and
(h) information regarding civil lawsuits to which the
applicant or his employer were a party.
11. It is found that the requested information is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
12. At the hearing on this contested case the respondent asserted that disclosure would affect his rights as a litigant under the laws of discovery, pursuant to 1-19b(b), G.S.
13. It is found that although the complainant threatened to institute legal action against both the respondent and the Town, as of the date of the hearing the complainant had failed to bring any legal action against either the respondent or the Town.
14. It is found that at the time of the hearing on this contested case, the respondent was not a party to any legal action instituted by the complainant, other than this proceeding, and therefore not a "litigant" or a "party" within the meaning of 1-19b(b), G.S.
Docket #FIC 90-366 Page 3
15. It is therefore concluded that 1-19b(b), G.S., is not applicable to this case.
16. The respondent claims that the requested information is protected from disclosure under 1-19(a), (b)(2), (b)(8) and (b)(10), G.S.
17. It is found that the records requested are not maintained as part of either a personnel or medical file within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
18. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that the requested records are "similar files," and that the disclosure of the requested records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
19. It is also found that the respondent failed to demonstrate that the vendor permit applicants entertained a reasonable expectation of privacy in the information supplied to the respondent as part of their vendor permit application.
20. It is therefore concluded that the requested permit information is not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
21. It is found that applicants for a vendor's permit in Town are not asked to provide any "statements of personal worth or personal financial data" within the meaning of 1-19(b)(8), G.S., as part of the vendor permit application process.
22. The Commission takes administrative notice of the fact that:
(a) 12-409(1), G.S., requires any person transacting business within the state of Connecticut (hereinafter "State"), to have a sales and use tax permit; and
(b) 12-409(4), G.S., requires a seller within the State to have his sales and use tax permit "conspicuously displayed at all times."
23. The Commission also takes administrative notice of the fact that the applicant's tax registration number is prominently displayed on the sales and use tax permit required by the State .
Docket #FIC 90-366 Page 4
24. Section 1-19(b)(10), G.S., by its express terms permits a public agency to withhold disclosure of "records, tax returns, reports and statements exempted by federal law or state statutes. . . ."
25. It is found that the respondent failed to cite or otherwise demonstrate that federal law or state statutes preclude the disclosure of the business information more fully described in paragraph 10(f) of the findings, above.
26. It is therefore concluded that 1-19(a), (b)(8) and (b)(10), G.S., do not govern this matter.
27. It is further concluded that under the facts of this case the respondent violated 1-15, G.S., when he failed to promptly respond to the request for documents and provide copies of the documentation more fully described in paragraph 10(a)-(h) of the findings, above.
28. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty.
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 certified copies of the records more fully described in paragraph 9(a)-(h) of the findings, above, for the time period of July 1, 1988 through September 18, 1990.
3. The respondent may mask, delete or otherwise redact an applicant's social security number prior to disclosure of the vendor permit application.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 8, 1991.
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 90-366 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:
1060 Mapleton Avenue
Suffield, CT 06078
WILLIAM GIFFORD, CHIEF OF POLICE, WINDSOR LOCKS POLICE DEPARTMENT
c/o David J. Wenc, Esq.
5 North Main Street
Windsor Locks, CT 06096
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission