FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Darrel W. Lovley and Stephen A. Johnson,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 91-27

 

Stafford Planning and Zoning Commission,

 

Respondent September 11, 1991

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 29, 1991, at which time the complainants 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 January 25, 1991 and filed with the Commission on January 30, 1991, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that their requests for records were denied.

 

3. It is found that the complainants, separately on January 24, 1991, requested copies of a special permit application and its supporting documentation received by the respondent two days before.

 

4. It is found that the respondent's secretary did not provide copies at the time of the request, and she at first informed the complainants that they would have to wait approximately one week before receiving copies.

 

5. It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

6. It is found that at the time the complainants made their requests, the respondent's staff had not done the paperwork to log in and initiate processing of the requested application.

 

Docket #FIC 91-27 Page 2

 

7. It is found that, although the complainants were told they would have to wait a week for the requested records, the respondent actually provided copies to them on January 25, 1991.

 

8. It is found that the respondent required the complainants to wait one day so that the staff could complete its initial processing of the application before making copies of it, to avoid misplacing or losing portions of the application record.

 

9. It is found that the requested records consisted of about 100 pages of documents, including maps.

 

10. Under the circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondent promptly provided copies of the requested records to the complainants.

 

11. By motion dated April 26, 1991, the respondents moved to dismiss the complaint because it had been filed after the complainants had received copies of the requested records.

 

12. It is concluded, however, that receipt of records before the filing of a complaint with the Commission does not of itself resolve the issue of promptness, which must be considered on a case by case basis, considering all the relevant facts.

 

13. The respondents also moved to assess civil penalties against the complainants for bringing a frivolous appeal, since the appeal was filed after the complainants had received copies of the requested records.

 

14. The Commission in its discretion declines to impose a civil penalty against the complainants.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The complaint is dismissed.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 11, 1991.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC91-27 page 3

 

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:

DARREL W. LOVELY

21 Fenton Road

Stafford, Springs, CT 06076

 

STEPHEN A. JOHNSON

17 Fenton Road

Stafford Springs, CT 06076

 

MARK S. GILCREAST, ESQ.

Fallon, Barbieri & Demers, P.C.

P. O. BOx 1185

Enfield, CT 06083-1185

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission