FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Ann C. Brown,
against Docket #FIC 93-59
Executive Director, State of Connecticut Traffic Commission, Department of Transportation, and Manager, Traffic Engineering, State of Connecticut Department of Transportation,
Respondents December 22, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 25 and October 18, 1993, at which times testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint were presented. The original caption for this case, Ann C. Brown against Executive Director, Traffic Commission, State of Connecticut, Department of
Transportation, has been changed to correctly identify the respondents in this matter.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter dated February 19, 1993, the complainant requested from the respondent State Traffic Commission (hereinafter "STC"), copies of "two maps presented by Patrick Bush at the STC's [publicly held] meeting of February 18, 1993 (hereinafter "February meeting")."
3. Specifically, the complainant sought copies of the Mashantucket Pequot Casino Master Plan (hereinafter "plan"), which identified road and intersection improvements, and the original reference or locator map (hereinafter "map"), which identified the impacted areas.
4. By reply letter dated March 1, 1993, the STC informed the complainant that the requested records could not be provided because, "... [they were] not submitted to [that] office and [were] not part of [its] files."
Docket #FIC 93-59 Page 2
5. By letter of complaint dated March 4, 1993, and filed with the Commission on March 8, 1993, the complainant alleged that the respondents failed to provide her with a copy of the plan and map displayed at the STC's February meeting.
6. Section 1-18a(d), G.S., states in relevant part that a public record or file is "...any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received, or retained by a public agency .... "
7. It is found that the STC used the plan and map at its February meeting.
8. It is found that on or about March 4, 1993, the complainant was provided with a copy of the map at issue.
9. It is found that on or about March 8, 1993, at the instruction of the STC, the complainant contacted the traffic engineering division of the respondent department of transportation (hereinafter "department"), and reiterated her request for a copy of the plan.
10. By reply letter dated March 10, 1993, the respondent department informed the complainant that the plan had been loaned to it for demonstration purposes at the February meeting but "[s]ince the [d]epartment had no ownership of [the] plan, it was returned to the Mashantucket Pequot representative at his request."
11. It is found that notwithstanding the respondent department's claims that it lacked posession and ownership of the plan, the plan had nevertheless been received, used and kept for a time by the department.
12. It is also found that the plan was returned to the Mashantucket Pequot Indians at the request of their representative prior to the respondent department's awareness of the complainant's request.
13. It is found that after discussions with the Mashantucket Pequot Indians the STC convinced them to furnish it with a copy of the plan that was subsequently provided to the complainant on or about April 6, 1993.
14. The complainant claims that the plan that was provided to her, however, was not the same plan presented at the February meeting.
Docket #FIC 93-59 Page 3
15. It is found that on the plan presented at the February meeting color was used to visually highlight the roadways at issue. However, the color applied to the roadways on the plan would not have been reproduced by photocopying anyway.
16. It is found that the plan provided to the complainant may contain changes which were subsequently under consideration for later phases of the Foxwoods Casino Development, but no structural or roadway changes or deletions were made to that portion of the plan presented and considered at the February meeting.
17. It is therefore concluded that the plan provided to the complainant by the STC, which may not be identical in all respects to the plan presented at the February meeting, is in fact the best existing plan depicting the phases of the Foxwoods Casino Development presented and considered at the February meeting.
18. It is further concluded that both the map and plan became public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., when they were used and/or received by the respondents and therefore the respondents violated the provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly comply with the complainant's request for a copy of the plan.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Henceforth the respondents shall fully comply with 1-15 and 1-19, G.S.
2. The Commission reminds the respondents of their obligation to comply with the records management provisions of 11-8, G.S., generally, and the retention, destruction and transfer of documents provisions of 11-8a and 11-8b, G.S., specifically.
3. The Commission notes further that as a result of the complaint in this case, and in a good faith effort to improve its service to the public, the STC has changed its practice of not retaining copies of documents presented at its meetings, and now requires copies to be available at the meeting at which the documents will be displayed or used. The STC also requires that a copy of any record used become part of its file for the particular matter under consideration.
Docket #FIC 93-59 Page 4
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 22, 1993.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 93-59 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:
Ms. Ann C. Brown
234 Mystic Road
North Stonington, CT 06359
Executive Director, State Traffic Commission,
State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation
c/o Robert Marconi, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission