FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Fred S. O'Donnell,
against Docket #FIC 94-287
George E. Luther, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Fire, Emergency
and Building Services, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety,
Respondent May 24, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 23, 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. It is found that the complainant, by letter dated July 19, 1994, requested the respondent to provide access to copies of the following records:
a. Thomas Haynes' current personal service agreement with the Department of Public Safety (hereinafter "the contract");
b. a list of all matters assigned to Haynes under the contract;
c. Haynes' current credentials for employment under the terms of the contract; and
d. any billing received or pending regarding Haynes, in connection with the contract.
3. It is found that the respondent contacted the complainant regarding his request by letter dated July 21, 1994 and indicated that the request was under review.
4. It is found that the respondent then, by letter dated August 11, 1994, denied the request claiming that Haynes objected to their disclosure.
Docket #FIC 94-287 Page 2
5. Having failed to receive access to the requested records, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated August 19, 1994 and filed with the Commission on August 22, 1994. Included in his appeal to the Commission was a request for civil penalties against the respondent.
6. It is found that Haynes is hired under contract by the respondent, and performs functions including fire investigation.
7. It is found that Haynes objected to the release of the requested records on August 11, 1994.
8. At the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with the records in its possession that are responsive to the complainant's request.
9. It is found that the records provided to the complainant, and described in paragraph 8, above, comprise all the records responsive to the complainant's request which are presently maintained by the respondent.
10. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides that every person shall have a right to receive prompt access to non-exempt public records.
11. It is found that the complainant, having been provided with access to the requested records approximately eight months after his request, did not receive prompt access within the meaning of 1-19(a), G.S.
12. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent violated 1-19(a), G.S.
13. With respect to the complainant's request for civil penalties, 1-21i(b)(2), G.S., allows the Commission, in its discretion, to impose a civil penalty upon a finding that a denial of any right was without reasonable grounds.
14. The Commission in its discretion declines to impose a civil penalty in this case.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondents shall forthwith provide the complainant with any updated versions of the records identified in paragraph 8 of the findings, above.
2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.
Docket #FIC 94-287 Page 3
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 24, 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:
FRED S. O'DONNELL
P.O. Drawer E
Mystic, CT 06355
GEORGE E. LUTHER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONRE, DIVISION OF FIRE, EMERGENCY AND BUILDING SERVICES, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, DEPARTMETN OF PUBLIC SAFETY
c/o Ann E. Lynch, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission