FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Susan C. Ray,
against Docket #FIC 1995-400
Bruce Gresczyk, New Hartford
First Selectman; Linda Goff,
Treasurer, Town of New Hartford,
and Barbara Schaffer, Bookkeeper,
Respondents July 24, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 18, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter of complaint filed with this Commission on November 17, 1995, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the provisions of the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her copies of the town's bank/investment statements for the entire period of fiscal year 1993-1994 and by providing her with bank/investment statements for fiscal year 1994-1995 containing duplications of unnecessary material intended to increase the final cost to her.
3. It is found that by letter dated October 25, 1995, the complainant requested of the respondent first selectman copies of "ALL (emphasis added) bank and investment statements for fiscal year 1994-1995 that have interest income in the aggregate of $110,000.00" and also "all bank and investment statements for fiscal year 1993-1994 that have interest income in the aggregate of $37,566.00".
Docket #FIC1995-400 Page 2
4. The records identified in paragraphs 2 and 3, above, are public records within the meaning of §1-18a(d), G.S.
5. It is found that in response to the complainant's request and within four business days, the respondent first selectman, in conjunction with the town bookkeeper, made contact with the complainant for clarification of her request and then provided to her copies of documents approximately two inches thick at a cost of $154.00.
6. It is found that the two inch thick stack of documents provided to the complainant consisted of the raw data needed to answer the complainant's inquiry for fiscal year 1994-1995, and that this information had not yet been distilled due to the fact that an independent audit had not yet been conducted for that fiscal year.
7. At the hearing into this matter the complainant maintained that she still hadn't received the records requested for fiscal year 1993-1994.
8. It is also found that when the town bookkeeper telephoned the complainant on Friday, October 27, 1995 concerning her request, the bookkeeper explained that an independent audit had already been conducted for fiscal year 1993-1994, and that two specific pages from the forty page audit report contained the relevant information sought by the complainant in distilled form. The bookkeeper asked the complainant whether she preferred all raw data for fiscal year 1993-1994, which would cost an additional approximate $150.00, or whether the two-page audit excerpt would be satisfactory to the complainant.
9. It is found that the respondent provided the two-page audit excerpt for fiscal year 1993-1994 to the complainant at the complainant's election.
10. It is found that the bank records provided to the complainant were necessary for full and complete disclosure of the interest information sought.
11. It is accordingly found that although the two-inch thick stack of records provided to the complainant included some bank documents that contained redundant account information, the respondent first selectman did not in fact issue duplicate copies of records to the complainant.
12. It is therefore concluded that the respondent first selectman neither denied the complainant copies of public records nor attempted to increase the complainant's cost of public records in violation of any provision of the FOI Act.
Docket #FIC1995-400 Page 3
13..At the hearing into this matter, the respondents moved to dismiss the instant complaint against the respondents treasurer and bookkeeper, to whom no request for public records was actually made under the facts of this case.
14. The respondents' motion identified in paragraph 13, above, is herein granted.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
2. In light of the evidence presented in this case, this Commission strongly urges the complainant to review §1-21i(b)(2), G.S., outlining the prohibition against and penalties for the filing of frivolous and harassing complaints.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 24, 1996.
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket # FIC 1995-400 Page 4
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:
Susan C. Ray
101 Behrens Road
New Hartford, CT 06057
Bruce Gresczyk, New Hartford First Selectman
Linda Goff, Treasurer, Town of New Hartford
Barbara Schaffer, Bookkeeper,
c/o Atty. Richard L. Street
Carmody & Torrance
50 Leavenworth Street
P.O. Box 110
Waterbury, CT 06721-1110
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission