FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 94-207
Walter Pawelkiewicz, Windham First Selectman; and
Donald W. Schultz, Windham Building Official,
Respondents April 18, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 17, 1994 and January 9, 1995, at which times the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. This case was consolidated for hearing with docket numbers FIC 94-155, Marvin Edelman and Steven Edelman against Walter Pawelkiewicz, Windham First Selectman, and Donald Schultz, Windham Building Official; and FIC 94-202, Steven Edelman against Walter Pawlkiewicz, Windham First Selectman and Donald Schultz, Windham Building Official.
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 six separate letters of complaint all filed June 27, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that his requests for access to certain records had been denied.
3. It is found that the complainant made June 13, 1994
a. "the town of Windham ordinance, statute, directive, or similar instrument under which the town of Windham created a town of Windham building code board of appeals;
b. "all records since 1985 including, but not limited to, minutes, transcripts, ordinances, and statutes, pertaining to the appointment of specific persons to the town of Windham building code board of appeals;
Docket #FIC 94-207 Page 2
c. "all records, including, but not limited to, resumes, applications, and interview minutes, pertaining to the professional qualifications of persons serving on the town of Windham building code board of appeals;
d. "the ordinance, statute, directive, or similar instrument under which the town of Windham sets the terms of office for persons serving on the town of Windham building code board of appeals;" and
e. "all records including, but not limited to, correspondence, directives, orders and similar instruments pertaining to alleged building code infractions committed by Marvin and Steven Edelman since 1988, as sought in a request dated April 29, 1994."
4. It is also found that the complainant made a May 5, 1994 request through the office of the Windham personnel director for the personnel record for the respondent first selectman, excluding items exempted from public scrutiny.
5. With respect to the complainant's request for documents concerning the Windham building code board of appeals, it is found that the respondent first selectman answered by letter dated June 16, 1994 that all of the requested records were generally available for inspection during the town's regular business hours, but that finding the documents requested would require research.
6. It is also found that no such building code board of appeals currently exists.
7. It is also found that finding historical records of the board, to the extent that they may exist, would require research not required by the Freedom of Information Act.
8. It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by declining to perform research on a non-existent entity.
9. With respect to the complainant's request for documents concerning alleged building code infractions committed by Marvin and Steven Edelman since 1988, it is found that the respondent building official made all building files concerning the Edelmans available to the complainant.
10. It is found that finding the particular documents requested by the complainant requires research.
Docket #FIC 94-207 Page 3
11. It is also found that the building official previously performed that research for the complainant, but declined to do it again.
12. It is therefore concluded that the respondent building official did not violate the FOI Act by declining to conduct research for the complainant.
13. With respect to the complainant's request for the respondent first selectman's personnel record, it is found that the town of Windham does not maintain any single personnel or similar file concerning the first selectman.
14. It is found that the town does maintain personnel records concerning the first selectman, such as performance evaluations, commendations, and salary, benefits and insurance information, although the records are not collected in any single file.
15. It is also found that the complainant subsequently obtained certain personnel records concerning the first selectman from the town comptroller's office.
16. It is found that it is not possible to determine from the record of this case what particular records the complainant may have been denied, who made such alleged denials, or whether such alleged denials occured within thirty days before the filing of this complaint.
17. The Commission also notes that the complainant on November 28, 1994 made a more particularized request for personnel files and records of several town employees, including the first selectman.
18. It is concluded that the Commission lacks an adequate record from which it may determine in this case whether the respondent first selectman denied the complainant access to any of the first selectman's personnel records, and that any issues concerning denials of the first selectman's personnel records would be better decided in an appeal from a more particularized request.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is dismissed.
Docket #FIC 94-207 Page 4
2. With respect to the issues concerning access to the personnel records of the respondent first selectman, the dismissal in this case is without prejudice to the filing of a subsequent complaint.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of April 18, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
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:
Windham Center, CT 06280
WALTER PAWELKIEWICZ, WINDHAM FIRST SELECTMAN; AND DONALD W. SCHULTZ, WINDHAM BUILDING OFFICIAL
c/o Richard S. Cody, Esq.
Michelson, Kane, Royster & Barger, P.C.
93 Oak Street
Hartford, CT 06106-1552
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission