FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Robert L. Ruszkowski,
against Docket #FIC 90-483
Chairman, Greater Stamford Transit District,
Respondent November 13, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 6, 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 to the respondent dated November 1, 1990, the complainant renewed a September 1990 request for the following documents regarding the respondent for the period July 1988 to November 1990: all bank accounts, check books, financial information and accounts payable and receivable.
3. By letter dated November 30, 1990, the respondent denied the complainant's request by offering to provide him with a copy of an independent auditor's report, to be commissioned by the respondent in lieu of the actual documents requested.
4. By letter filed with this Commission on December 12, 1990, the complainant appealed the respondent's denial of the actual documents requested.
5. It is found that the requested records identified in paragraph 2, above, are public records within the meaning of §1-18a(d), G.S.
6. At the hearing, the respondent made a motion for the contested case in this matter to be consolidated with contested case docket #FIC 91-79 and also made a motion that the hearing in this matter be continued to a future date.
7. At the hearing, the hearing officer denied the motions
Docket #FIC 90-483 Page 2
identified in paragraph 6, above, noting that the narrow issue in this case is capable of resolution independently of its related case. She also noted that there is no compelling reason for further delaying the hearing into this matter, and that the Commission is under a short jurisdictional time restriction for the resolution of this case, which was filed in 1990. Accordingly she concluded that further delay of this case would work an injustice on the complainant and on the Commission.
8. At the hearing, the respondent claimed that when it separated its operations from the City of Stamford, the city did not turn over all of the respondent's files to it, but rather since that time has delivered only several boxes of documents, the complete contents of which were still unknown to the respondent at the time of the hearing.
9. The respondent also claimed at the hearing that the request for records in this case came in December 1990 when the City of Stamford had possession of the respondent's records, which made it impossible for the respondent to comply fully with the complainant's request for records.
10. At the hearing, the respondent also claimed that sometime in October 1990, the respondent was established as a separate entity from the City of Stamford; however, it is found that the respondent failed to produce any witnesses to testify at the hearing and failed to put on evidence to establish when this occurred.
11. At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer provided the respondent with the opportunity to present further evidence within seven days of that hearing by way of an after-filed exhibit concerning the issue of when the decision was made for the respondent to separate its operations from those of the City of Stamford.
12. It is found that the respondent did offer certain documents as after-filed exhibits which documents fell outside the scope of the hearing officer's inquiry identified in paragraph 11, above. Accordingly, the record in this case is limited to only that evidence taken at the hearing on September 6, 1991.
13. It is found that on December 20, 1990, the respondent came into partial complaince with the complainant's request for records.
14. It is also found that at the hearing the respondent failed to address why it denied the complainant access to documents the complainant sought beginning in September 1990.
Docket #FIC 90-483 Page 3
15. The respondent alternatively argued that §7-273, G.S., constitutes an exemption for disclosure of the requested documents under §1-19(a), G.S., because it enumerates financial information to be disclosed annually.
16. It is concluded that §7-273, G.S., does not prohibit the disclosure of the requested records at times other than the annual publication outlined in §7-273f, G.S., and, accordingly, the requested records are not exempt from disclosure under the facts of this case.
17. It is concluded that the respondent's failure to promptly provide all existing records requested by the complainant is in violation of the provisions 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 all existing records identified in paragraph 2 of the findings, above, that have not already been provided to the complainant as of December 20, 1990.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 13, 1991.
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 90-483 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:
c/o Barry Boodman, Esq.
Assistant Corporation Counsel
888 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06904
Chairman, Greater Stamford Transit District
c/o Thomas J. Weihing, Esq.
1115 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission