FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Alan R. Jones,
against Docket #FIC 1996-069
Director of Safety and Security, State of Connecticut,
Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Chief of Fiscal
and Administrative Services, State of Connecticut
Department of Veterans’ Affairs,
Respondents November 20, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 15, 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 dated February 15, 1996, the complainant requested that the respondent chief of fiscal and administration services provide him with access to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs telephone log sheet for specific extension numbers and a specific cellular phone number for the period of January 1995 to present.
3. It is found that on February 14 and 15, 1996, the respondents conversed with the complainant via telephone concerning the availability of the requested records.
4. By letter dated February 26, 1996, the respondents informed the complainant of the costs to create the computer printout of the telephone log sheet he sought (hereinafter “phone reports”), and they informed him that they were still in the process of retrieving the cellular phone billing records from the department of administrative services telecommunications office, which records would be furnished to the complainant upon receipt.
5. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of §1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
6. By undated letter filed with this Commission on February 29, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by attempting to charge him to recreate the phone reports on computer, and he disputed the respondents’ statement that they no longer have “daily business journals” for the years 1993, 1994 and 1995, which the complainant had also requested.
7. It is found that the respondents do not have daily business journals for the years 1993, 1994 and 1995.
8. It is concluded that with respect to the complainant’s allegations concerning the daily business journals, the respondents are not in violation of the provisions of the FOI Act under the facts of this case.
9. The respondents contend that the requested phone reports are not readily available as part of their routine business, and they are not produced unless management specifically requests them.
10. It is found that the phone reports sought by the complainant for the period prior to January, 1996, are stored on computer, but that the computerized information is not maintained in readable form. Rather, the computer program requires refining to produce readable phone reports.
11. It is also found that beginning in approximately January, 1996, the respondents have provided phone reports to department heads at management’s requests, however, no printed phone reports prior to that period responsive to the complainant’s request exist.
12. Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part states:
… all records maintained or kept on file by any public
agency … shall be public records and every person
shall have the right to inspect such records promptly …
during regular office or business hours …
13. It is concluded that the respondents’ failure to provide access to the complainant to those printed phone reports identified in paragraph 11, above, is a violation of §1-19(a), G.S.
14. With respect to disclosure of the computer-stored data, §1-19a(a), G.S., provides in pertinent part:
Any public agency which maintains public records in a computer storage system shall provide, to any person making a request pursuant to this chapter, a copy of any nonexempt data contained in such records, properly identified, on paper, disk, tape or any other electronic storage device or medium requested by the person, if the agency can reasonably make such copy or have such copy made. Except as otherwise provided by state statute, the cost for providing a copy of such data shall be in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15.
15. Section 1-15(b), G.S., sets forth the categories for which the respondents may charge for copies of computer stored public records pursuant to §1-19a(a), G.S.
16. It is found that under the charges to the complainant were not excessive under the facts of this case pursuant to §1-15(b), G.S.
17. It is concluded that with respect to the allegation concerning the respondents charges to the complainant identified in paragraph 6, above, the respondents are not in violation of the provisions of the FOI Act.
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 a copies of any phone reports in existence from January, 1996 to the present time, and more fully described in paragraph 11 of the findings, above, free of charge.
2. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the provisions of §1-19(a), G.S.
3. With respect to those allegations of improper charges for public records, that portion of the complaint is hereby dismissed.
4. With respect to those allegations concerning daily business journals, that portion of the complaint is hereby dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 20, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting 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:
Alan R. Jones
47 Crest Drive
Vernon, CT 06066
Director of Safety and Security, State of Connecticut, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Chief of Fiscal and Administrative Services, State of Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs
c/o Nyle K. Davey, Esq.
Judith A. Merrill, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
PO Box 120
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission