FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 90-387
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 90-366 and 90-376 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 October 4, 1990, the complainant requested that the respondent allow him to inspect "any and all bank statements, cancelled checks, deposit slips and copies of deposited checks generated between July 1, 1988 and October 1, 1990 for any and all bank accounts controlled or maintained by the [respondent's department]."
3. On October 15, 1990, the complainant filed his appeal with the Commission alleging that the respondent failed to reply to his document 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 October 5, 1990.
Docket #FIC 90-387 Page 2
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 found that neither the respondent nor his designee responded to the complainant's document request.
8. At the hearing on this matter the complainant narrowed the scope of his document request.
9. Specifically, the complainant limited his request to inspection of the respondent's department's bank statements, deposit slips and other financial records pertaining to fees collected by the respondent's department under the town of Windsor Locks (hereinafter "Town") Ordinance for the "Licensing and Regulating of Vendors, Hawkers, Peddlers and Solicitors in the [Town]" (hereinafter "Ordinance"), from the period of July 1, 1988 through October 1, 1990.
10. It is found that the respondent's department maintains an account where fees collected from vendors under the Ordinance are deposited and then transferred on a monthly basis to the town treasurer's office.
11. It is found that the funds from vendors' fees are commingled with other monies collected by the respondent's department.
12. It is also found that the respondent's department does not maintain separate financial records for vendors' fees collected under the Ordinance.
13. It is further found that information pertaining to monies collected by the respondent's department from vendors would only appear as a line item on a document which records financial information about all fees collected by the respondent's department.
14. Although the respondent failed to respond to the complainant's request and therefore the complainant had no knowledge of the basis for the denial, at the hearing on the matter the respondent maintained that the documents to which the complainant sought access are protected from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(a), 1-19(b)(10) and 36-16, G.S.
Docket #FIC 90-387 Page 3
15. It is found that the general provisions of the banking law of the state of Connecticut as set forth in Title 36, Chapters 634 and 635 of the General Statutes, are only applicable to financial entities and institutions, and the commissioner of banking as defined in 36-1 and 36-2, G.S.
16. It is found that 36-16, G.S., which the respondent relies upon to support his claim of exemption under 1-19(a), G.S., applies solely to information obtained by, prepared by or prepared for the use of the commissioner of banking or any member of the department of banking, and does not expressly or impliedly prohibit disclosure of information which is "otherwise a public record," including the information to which the complainant seeks access.
17. It is concluded that 36-16, G.S., does not govern this case.
18. It is also concluded that under the facts of this case, the respondent failed to prove that the information to which the complainant sought access was exempt from disclosure under either 1-19(a) or 1-19(b)(10), G.S.
19. It is therefore concluded that under the facts of this case, the requested information is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., subject to disclosure pursuant to 1-19(a), G.S.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. It is therefore concluded that 1-19b(b), G.S., is not applicable to this case.
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24. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty as requested.
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 access to the records more fully described in paragraph 9 of the findings, above, or a sworn affidavit that the records at issue either do not exist or are not maintained in the control or custody of the respondent's department.
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 90-387 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