FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Fred S. O'Donnell,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 95-87

 

Deputy Commissioner, Division of Fire, Emergency and Building

Services, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety,

 

Respondent December 13, 1995

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 10, 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 February 24, 1995 requested that the respondent provide him with access to a copy of the following records concerning Donald Barry, a contracted employee of the respondent:

 

a. all current, past and pending personal service agreements (hereinafter "contracts");

 

b. a list of all classes taught, lesson plans and assignments given to Barry by the respondent formally or informally, paid or unpaid, including case numbers and dates under any contract described in 2a., above;

 

c. Barry's current credentials for employment under the terms of the contracts described in 2a., above;

 

d. all qualifications, recommendations and other credentials submitted for the contracts described in 2a., above;

 

Docket #FIC 95-87 Page 2

 

e. a list of all billing received, pending or paid under the terms of the contracts described in 2a., above; and

 

f. the written bidding procedure for the contracts described in 2a., above.

 

3. It is found that the respondent contacted the complainant regarding his request by letter dated March 2, 1995 and informed him that the request was under review and that he would be notified of the results.

 

4. It is found that by letter dated March 23, 1995 the respondent provided the complainant with access to a copy of Barry's contract for the period July 1, 1994 through June 30, 1995 and indicated "enclosed is the information you requested."

 

5. Having failed to receive access to all of the requested records, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated March 27, 1995 and filed with the Commission on March 29, 1995.

 

6. Following the complainant's appeal to the Commission, the respondent searched its records and located additional records not provided earlier to the complainant, which it then provided to the complainant by letter dated May 15, 1995.

 

7. The respondent contends that the records provided to the complainant by its letter of May 15, 1995 completes all the records which exist in its files responsive to the complainant's request.

 

8. With respect to the allegation as described in paragraph 2a., above, it is found that the complainant received a copy of the 1994/1995 contract, but no past or pending contract.

 

9. With respect to the allegation as described in paragraph 2b., 2c. and 2d., above, it is found that the respondent has not provided the complainant with documents responsive to his request.

 

10. With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2e., above, it is found that the respondent provided the complainant with a document titled "Notification to Bidders" concerning general contract compliance requirements, but no specific document regarding the Barry contract.

 

11. It is found that under the terms of the 1994/1995 contract Barry is hired by the respondent to instruct fire and building personnel in fire investigation.

 

Docket #FIC 95-87 Page 3

 

12. It is also found that under the terms of the 1994/1995 contract Barry is to perform work at times, dates and locations determined by the Department of Public Safety, and to keep a written record of the dates and hours worked and the nature of the work performed, a copy of which is to be submitted to the respondent by the tenth day of October 1994, January 1995, April 1995, and July, 1995. Each such report is to cover the contractor's activities for the three month period preceding the month in which the record is submitted.

 

13. The complainant contends that it is inconceivable that the respondent does not maintain any records pertaining to Barry's credentials or qualifications for the job and actual work performed.

 

14. At the hearing, the respondent indicated that no resume existed for Barry, however, he believes Barry was hired based upon his twenty years of prior work experience with the DPS.

 

15. It is found that the respondent does not maintain records regarding classes taught by Barry and or assignments given to Barry.

 

16. It is found that the respondent does not maintain records concerning Barry's qualifications for employment.

 

17. It is found that the respondent does not maintain any bills received from Barry.

 

18. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides that every person shall have a right to receive access promptly to non-exempt public records.

 

19. It is found that the records described in paragraph 6 above, which were eventually provided to the complainant by the respondent only after he filed his appeal to the Commission were not provided promptly.

 

20. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-19(a), G.S., when it failed to provide the complainant with the records described in paragraph 6, above, promptly.

 

21. Further, it is found that the respondent's denial of prompt access to the records described in paragraph 6, above, until May 15, 1995, was without reasonable grounds.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. A civil penalty in the amount of $100.00 is hereby imposed upon the respondent.

 

Docket #FIC 95-87 Page 4

 

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

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 13, 1995.

 

____________________________

Elizabeth A. Leifert

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 95-87 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:

Fred S. O'Donnell

P.O. Drawer E

Mystic, CT 06355

 

Deputy Commissioner, Division of Fire, Emergency and Building Services, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety

c/o Ann E. Lynch, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

____________________________

Elizabeth A. Leifert

Acting Clerk of the Commission