FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Richard Howard and AFSCME Local 1565,
against Docket #FIC 93-104
Larry Meachum, Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,
Respondent November 10, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 3, 1993, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The case caption has been changed to reflect the fact that in their original complaint, the complainants requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondent.
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. It is found that by letter to the respondent dated March 26, 1993, the complainants made the respondent aware of two records requests submitted to Connecticut's Department of Correction ("DOC"), on or about March 26, 1993, wherein they requested that they be provided with the following information:
(a) line item budget for each DOC facility for the years 1989, 1990, 1991 1992 and 1993, including, but not limited to Pre-B-1 forms and 001-002 figures ("budget records");
(b) line item budget for the DOC facility located at 340 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut, for the years 1989, 1990, 1991 1992 and 1993, including, but not limited to, Pre-B-1 forms and 001-002 figures ("budget records");
Docket #FIC 93-104 Page 2
(c) present status and title of the former warden for the Litchfield Community Correctional Center, Anna Thompson ("warden");
(d) annual salary paid to the warden for the years 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993; and
(e) copies of all reports submitted to DOC by the warden as a result of her job assignment in Washington, D.C., for the years 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993.
3. By reply letter dated April 1, 1993, the respondent acknowledged receipt of the complainants' request and indicated that the materials requested were being compiled and reviewed for a determination about disclosure.
4. By letter dated April 6, 1993, the respondent provided the complainants with information related to the warden's present classification, salary and fringe benefit figures, and information concerning a Reimbursement Agreement between DOC and the federal government for the years 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, regarding Warden Thompson.
5. By letter of complaint dated April 13, 1993 and filed with the Commission on April 16, 1993, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent failed to fully comply with their March 26, 1993 requests for specified records.
6. In their complaint letter the complainants also questioned the validity of the information that they had been provided regarding the warden since the records themselves indicate that her present classification is "Correction Program Specialist" and not Correction Warden 1 as stated in the respondent's April 6, 1993 reply.
7. At the hearing respondent's counsel claimed responsibility for the respondent's failure to promptly provide the complainants with the budget information requested.
8. It is found that in accordance with what the respondent characterized as "established policy and procedure," on or about April 1, 1993, the Attorney General's Office was notified of the complainants' records request by being carbon copied on the respondent's reply letter of the same date, and then on or about April 23, 1993, the respondent provided its counsel with a sampling of the budget records requested for review and advice regarding compliance and billing.
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9. It is found that respondent's counsel failed to review or comply with the respondent's request for advice regarding either disclosure, or the preparation and submission of a bill to the complainants for the copies requested, until approximately July 30, 1993.
10. It is found that the budget records at issue have already been compiled in one location and are ready for copying.
11. At the hearing the respondent agreed to provide copies of the requested budget records, including all existing Pre-B-01 records, B1-A forms (which are submitted to the Office of Policy and Management), and information regarding personal services and other expense figures (001-002 information), as described in paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b) of the findings, above, to the complainants, at cost, within thirty (30) days.
12. It is found that the budget records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., which were not promptly provided to the complainants.
13. It is concluded that with respect to the budget records identified in paragraphs 2(a), 2(b) and 12 of the findings, above, the respondent violated the promptness provisions of 1-15 and 1-19, G.S.
14. There is no dispute that the records concerning the warden are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
15. At the hearing the respondent agreed to provide the complainants with an affidavit from his personnel officer who provided the information and records on his behalf to the complainants concerning the warden.
16. The respondent agreed that the affiant shall clarify and state: (1) the number of positions, precise job title(s) and classification(s) held by the warden, and state the purpose for which the warden holds more than one position, job title, or classification, if in fact she does; and (2) verify or correct the salary, fringe benefit, and reimbursement information prov ded to the complainants on or about April 6, 1993.
17. It is found that subsequent to the hearing, on or about August 5, 1993, the respondent filed the affidavit described in paragraph 16 of the findings, above, with both the Commission and the complainants.
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18. It is concluded that the respondent has complied with the complainants' request for records and information about the warden.
19. The Commission finds that the respondent's violations of 1-18a(e)(1) and 1-19(a), G.S., were without reasonable grounds.
The following order is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. Within fourteen (14) days of the date of mailing the notice of final decision in this matter, the respondent shall provide at no cost to the complainants, copies of the records more fully described and identified in paragraphs 2(a), 2(b) and 11 of the findings, above.
2. Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the promptness provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., even if it means following up with counsel where counsel fails to provide the guidance and information sought concerning a records request in a timely manner.
3. The Commission imposes a civil penalty against the respondent in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00). The aforementioned civil penalty shall be remitted to the Commisision within forty-five days of the date of mailing of the notice of final decision in this case.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 10, 1993.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
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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:
Mr. Richard L. Howard
AFSCME Local 1565
544 Main Street
Cromwell, CT 06416
Larry Meachum, Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction
c/o Madeline A. Melchionne, Esq.
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission