In the Matter of a Complaint by                        FINAL DECISION


Alex F. Carrozelli,




            against              Docket #FIC 94-234


Bridgeport Acting Labor Relations Director,


                        Respondent                  April 26, 1995


            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 21, 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 filed July 18, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that he received no response to his June 27, 1994 letter requesting certain records from the respondent.


            3.         It is found that the complainant by letter dated June 27, 1994 requested:


                        a.         the identity of all outside service agencies, brokers, and consultants contractually engaged by the city of Bridgeport, with relation to city-wide benefits coverages (health, compensation, disability, pension, etc.) for the fiscal period 1993-1994;


                        b.         a copy of the agreement with Merit Insurance Inc. at 1000 Lafayette Boulevard, Bridgeport, and a copy of all correspondence to and from that office for the fiscal period 1993-1994; and


                        c.         the identity of all blocked-out employees named on records previously supplied to the complainant by the respondent.


            4.         It is also found that the complainant in his June 27, 1994 letter suggested three types of records that might reflect


Docket #FIC 94-234                           Page 2


the identities of the contracted-with agencies, brokers and consultants he had requested: (A) written contracts, (B) correspondence reflecting an existing agreement, and (C) copies of billing statements.


            5.         It is found that the respondent, through the office of the city attorney, responded by letter dated July 18, 1994 that the respondent was in the process of identifying and retrieving the documents the complainant had requested.


            6.         It is found that the complainant, by letter dated July 20, 1994, in turn responded that he assumed that he would have the opportunity to inspect the various requested documents before paying for all of them.


            7.         It is found that the respondent then delivered certain records to the complainant on September 9, 1994.


            8.         It is found that the respondent's September 9, 1994 delivery included an August 5, 1994 cover letter from the respondent to the office of the city attorney, indicating that documents responsive to "parts A and B" of the complainants request were enclosed, but that documents responsive to "part C" totaled some 600 pages that would need to be copied at a cost of $300.00


            9.         It is found that, other than cover letters, the only records transmitted to the complainant were an administrative service agreement between the city and Physicians Health Services, Inc.; and a banking funds agreement relating to a self-insured program.


            10.       It is found that the administrative service agreement references a plan administrator, which is one of the entities the complainant was seeking to identify, but is not otherwise responsive to the complainant's request.


            11.       It is found that the banking funds agreement merely reflects a funding vehicle, and contains no information responsive to the complainant's request.


            12.       It is found that the respondent apparently understood the complainant to have requested, via "parts A and B," copies of any written contractual agreements and any pieces of correspondence reflecting existing business agreements; and to have requested, via "part C," copies of all billing statements for services received by any outside serivce agencies, brokers or consultants.


            13.       It is also found, however, that the complainant's request is reasonably understood as a request for the identify of outside service agencies, brokers and consultants; and while it suggests documents that might identify them, is clearly not requesting copies of all of those documents.


Docket #FIC 94-234                           Page 3


            14.       It is also found that the respondent failed to address the remainder of the request, which is unequivocally for a copy of the Merit Insurance Inc. agreement, and for the blocked-out employees named on the document previously supplied to the complainant.


            15.       It is also found that the respondent failed to offer any explanation for the one-month delay between when the documents were requested and when they were transmitted to the office of the city attorney, or the additional one-month delay between when the information was transmitted to the city attorney and when it was transmitted to the complainant


            16.       It is found that the complainant was previously employed as the director of risk management for the city, and is familiar with both the types of entities he was seeking to identify, and the records in which their identities would be contained.


            17.       It is found, based upon the complainant's unrebutted testimony, that the respondent failed to provide any records relative to workers compensation insurance, to the workers compensation administrative contract, to the plan administrator for medical insurance, to the dental and health insurance contracts, and to the pension plan.


            18.       It is found that all of the information requested by the complainant is contained within public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.


            19.       The respondent makes no claim that any of the requested records are exempt from disclosure.


            20.       It is also found that while locating records reflecting the information requested by the complainant would have required some expertise and some searching, the respondent failed to prove that it would have required research.


            21.       At the hearing, the respondent moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that the complainant had failed to prove that the respondent has custody of the contracts that contain the information he is seeking.


            22.       It is found, however, that the complainant, based upon his expertise as a previous managerial employee for the city of Bridgeport in the area of risk management, sustained his burden of going forward, by providing evidence that the respondent would reasonably be expected to be the custodian of the requested records.


            23.       It is also found that the respondent failed to produce any evidence that he does not have custody of the requested records.


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            24.       It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly make available public records.


            25.       At the hearing on this matter, the respondent indicated that he had misunderstood the complainant's request, and was willing to make available whatever records were available in his department.


            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 make available for inspection by the complainant any records that are responsive to the complainant's June 27, 1994 request, and shall copy any records requested by the complainant after he inspects those reecords.


            2.         Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.


            3.         The Commission advises the respondent that, should he in the future be confused by requests for records, he should seek clarification from the requester.


Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 26, 1995.



                                    Debra L. Rembowski

                                    Clerk of the Commission


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16 Richards Lane

Norwalk, CT 06851



c/o Mark T. Anastasi, Esq.

City Attorney

Legal Department

202 State Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604-4807



                                    Debra L. Rembowski

                                    Clerk of the Commission