FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Allison B. Spitzer,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 91-104

 

State of Connecticut Commission on the Arts,

 

Respondent October 9, 1991

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 8, 1991, 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 filed with this Commission on April 26, 1991, the complainant alleged that the respondent failed to provide copies of public records requested under the FOI Act first on February 11, 1991 and again by letter dated April 15, 1991.

 

3. It is found that by letter dated February 11, 1991, the complainant requested nine categories of records from the respondent, and that by letter dated February 22, 1991, the respondent acknowledged receipt of the request stating it would forward information as soon as possible noting the extensiveness of the request. The respondent's letter also expressed its acting director's willingness to meet with the complainant at a mutually convenient time.

 

4. At the time of the hearing, the following requested records were still in issue between the parties:

 

a. a listing of arts award winners selected as "emerging organizations";

 

b. grants to "Young Audiences,""Creative Arts in Education," and "Institute for Aesthetic Education," 1983 - present;

 

c. notes or documents related to staff recommendations

 

Docket #FIC 91-104 Page 2

 

made to the executive committee, the arts presentation committee and the full commission; and

 

d. a listing of all grant awards since 1983 awarded prior to or pending their award of 501(c)3 status.

 

5. It is found that those existing records that fall within the descriptions outlined in paragraphs 4a-d, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

6. It is found that with respect to the request identified in paragraph 4a, above, the respondent lacks a standard by which to identify and/or categorize "emerging" organizations, and no listing per se exists.

 

7. It is found that with respect to the request identified in paragraph 4b, above, a computer search for such overlooked some information in this category that the complainant sought.

 

8. With respect to the request identified in paragraph 4c, above, the respondent claims that staff members lack authority to make final decisions, and that their discussions are contained in meetings minutes.

 

9. It is also found that staff members get together to discuss recommendations and take "rough notes" for applicant files, yet with respect to the request identified in paragraph 4c, above, the complainant received only a computer printout but no handwritten notes.

 

10. With respect to the complainant's request identified in paragraph 4d, above, it is found that although the complainant has been asked questions related to this topic, the respondent has failed to track such information.

 

11. It is concluded that the respondent's failure to promptly provide the complainant with those documents identified in paragraph 4b, above, is a violation of 1-19(a), G.S.

 

12. It is also found that any failure to provide the complainant with any existing "rough notes" as identified in paragraph 9, above, is a violation of 1-19(a), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with those records identified in paragraphs 4b and 7, above.

 

 

Docket #FIC 91-104 Page 3

 

2. The respondent shall forthwith make a diligent search of its files for those records identified at paragraphs 4c and 9, above, and provide such to the extent they exist. If the respondent has no such records, it shall provide to the complainant a notarized affidavit stating this fact.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 9, 1991.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 91-104 Page 4

 

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:

Allison B. Spitzer

Bright Solutions, Inc.

4 Daniels Farm Road Suite 330

Trumbull, CT 06611

 

Commission on the Arts

227 Lawrence Street

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission