FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
against Docket #FIC 95-105
Plainville Community Development Coordinator,
Respondent March 27, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 7, 1996, at which time the complainant and respondent appeared 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 dated March 13, 1995, the complainant requested that he be provided with transcriptions of the respondent's June 16, 1994 ("June meeting"), and February 16, 1995 ("February meeting") meetings concerning the rehabilitation of his property. The complainant requested that all fees for the requested transcriptions be waived pursuant to 1-15(d)(1), G.S.
3. By letter of complaint dated April 4, 1995, and filed with this Commission on April 6, 1995, the complainant alleged that the respondent failed to comply with his records request.
4. It is found that the respondent held a June meeting to discuss the "Dietzko Rehabilitation Project," and the meeting was tape-recorded.
5. It is found that the meeting notes ("minutes") of the June meeting indicate that the complainant attended the meeting and at that time asked the respondent for a transcription of the June meeting.
Docket #FIC 95-105 Page 2
6. It is found that at the June meeting the respondent informed the complainant that a "transcript would be available and the [appropriate] fees charged."
7. It is found that the audiotape of the June meeting was never transcribed.
8. It is found that in January and February of 1995, the complainant again requested transcriptions of the respondent's June and February meetings, free of charge.
9. It is found that by letter dated January 27, 1995 the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the minutes of the June meeting but no transcription.
10. It is found under the facts and circumstances of this case that the respondent should have prepared a transcript of the June meeting and made it available to the complainant.
11. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to make a transcription of the June meeting available to the complainant.
12. It is found that the respondent hosted a February meeting to discuss the town's possible exposure to civil liability stemming from the Dietzko Rehabilitation Project.
13. It is found that the February meeting was not tape-recorded.
14. It is concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-15 or 1-19(a), G.S., when he did not provide the complainant with a transcription of the February meeting because it was not tape-recorded.
15. Regarding the complainant's claim of indigence, the respondent argues that the complainant does not qualify as indigent for purposes of the application of 1-15(d)(1), G.S.
16. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that either he or the Town of Plainville has objective criteria, guidelines or standards to determine indigency ("indigency standard"), or that such an indigency standard was applied to the complainant.
17. The respondent argues that he used his personal knowledge of the complainant and his finances, and an examination of the complainant's 1992 federal income tax return, as the basis for his determination that the complainant does not qualify as indigent for purposes of the application of 1-15(d)(1), G.S.
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18. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that the criteria for indigency that he used to analyze the complainant's 1-15(d)(1), G.S., claim was reasonable and not arbitrarily applied to the complainant.
19. It is concluded that under the facts of this case the respondent violated 1-15(d)(1), G.S., in its application to the complainant.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Forthwith the respondent shall prepare or cause to be prepared a transcription of the June meeting. The respondent shall bear all costs of having the transcription made. Once the transcript has been created the respondent shall provide a copy to the complainant, free of charge.
2. The respondent shall also provide an affidavit to this Commission attesting to his compliance with paragraph 1 of this order, within ten days of said compliance.
3. Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
4. The Commission suggests that the respondent develop and publish an objective and reasonable indigency standard which should not be arbitrarily or unfairly applied.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 27, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
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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:
160 Broad Street
Plainville, CT 06062
Plainville Community Development Coordinator
c/o Robert A. Michalik, Esq.
Eisenberg, Anderson, Michalik & Lynch
P.O. Box 2950
New Britain, CT 06050-2950
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission