FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Ethan Book, Jr.,
against Docket #FIC 94-219
Manager, Motor Transport Services, Bureau of Public Transportation,
State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation,
Respondent March 22, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 31, 1995 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 of complaint dated July 5, 1994 and filed with the Commission on July 7, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying him access to copies of records pertaining to the complainant's application No. 9208-N-55-L to the Department of Transportation ("DOT") for a livery permit (hereinafter "livery application").
3. It is found that by three letters to the respondent, the complainant requested access to copies of numerous records and information. Specifically, by letter dated June 7, 1994, the complainant requested:
a. the statutory basis for the "public convenience and necessity" criteria applied by the respondent's department in evaluating livery applications;
b. information used by the respondent's department in arriving at its decision that the complainant's company, New England Limousine Service, does not operate in an area with no current service; and
Docket #FIC 94-219 Page 2
c. a list of all companies which received a notice of the hearing concerning the complainant's livery application.
4. On June 13, 1994, the complainant requested the following records:
a. a list of the names and addresses of all companies which operate with an approved state livery permit;
b. a list of companies which received livery application approval in the last five (5) years and which operate in areas where there are no other competing companies; and
c. the percentage of full-time employees within the respondent's Motor Transport Services department, that have employer provided health insurance.
5. On June 22, 1994, the complainant requested a list of all companies that obtained DOT approval, since April 2, 1993, for an increase in the authorized number of vehicles for an existing livery permit.
6. At the hearing in this matter, the parties agreed that the records at issue that are to be addressed in this complaint are those as described in paragraphs 3 through 5, inclusive, above.
7. It is found that the respondent received the complainant's June 7, 13 and 22, 1994 records requests, as described in paragraphs 3, 4 and 5, above, but failed to respond to these requests.
8. It is found that the respondent, in a letter dated September 20, 1994, informed the complainant, among other things, that "today and always our files are open to your inspection."
9. It is found that prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with certain records responsive to the complainants' records request as described in paragraphs 3c. and 5, above.
Docket #FIC 94-219 Page 3
10. Section 1-19(a), G.S., states in relevant part:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have a right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15.
11. Section 1-18a(d), defines "public records" as any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
12. It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
13. With respect to the record requested, as described in paragraph 3a, above, it is found that the respondent maintains a copy of the Connecticut General Statutes and is aware that 13b-103, G.S., is responsive to the complainant's records request.
14. With respect to the records requested, as described in paragraph 3b, above, it is found that the respondent does not maintain a particular record or document which is responsive to the complainant's request. However, prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with certain records in an attempt to assist the complainant in obtaining the information he sought.
15. With respect to the records requested, as described in paragraphs 4a. and 4b., above, it is found that the respondent provided the complainant with records for the period 1992 to the present. However, it is also found that additional records responsive to the complainant's requests exist and are maintained in the respondent department's archives.
16. With respect to the complainant's request, as described in paragraph 4c., above, it is found that records containing the information sought by the complainant exist and are maintained in the personnel department of the DOT.
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17. It is concluded that the respondent violated the complainant's rights with respect to the allegations described in paragraphs 3 through 5, inclusive, when he failed to respond to the complainants' requests for records promptly, and failed to provide him with access to copies of the requested records.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent shall within two weeks of the mailing of the notice of the final decision in this matter provide the complainant with access to copies of all records, not previously provided to the complainant, which are responsive to the complainant's records requests, more fully described in paragraphs 3 through 5, inclusive, of the findings, above.
2. If any of the requested records do not exist, the respondent shall so inform the complainant by notarized affidavit.
3. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 22, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-219 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:
ETHAN BOOK, JR.
P.O. Box 1385
Fairfield, CT 06430
MANAGER, MOTOR TRANSPORT SERVICES, BUREAU OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
c/o Charles H. Walsh, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
55 Elm Street, 3rd Floor Annex
P.O. Box 120
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission