FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Angela D. Raymond,
against Docket #FIC 1996-200
Ann W. Klebacha, Land Use Coordinator,
Town of Brookfield; Eugene Golaszewski,
Chairman, Zoning Commission, Town of
Brookfield; John Martino, Jr.; Stanley Parker;
Ralph E. Ragette; and Joan A. Gould as Members
of Zoning Commission, Town of Brookfield,
Respondents December 11, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 2, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-18a(a), G.S.
2. It is found that on April 19 and 22, 1996, the complainant requested that the respondents provide her with copies of records pertaining to the approval of a permit for mining and quarrying operations by Rock Acquisition Limited Partnership and Fairfield Resources Management, Inc., (hereinafter “requested records”).
3. Having failed to receive copies of the requested records, the complainant by letter dated and filed on May 17, 1996, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying her copies of the requested records. The complainant requested that the Commission impose a civil penalty upon the respondents.
4. It is found that the requested records are maintained by the respondents and are public records within the meaning of §§1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
Docket #FIC 1996-200 Page 2
5. It is found that the respondents provided the complainant with copies of the requested records on or about May 17, 1996. Consequently, the issue raised in this appeal is whether such access was provided promptly within the meaning of §§1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S.
6. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15. Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void. [Emphases added.]
7. Section 1-15(a), G.S., provides , in relevant part:
Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. [Emphasis added.]
8. Section 1-15 (c), G.S., provides, in relevant part:
A public agency may require the prepayment of any fee required or permitted under this chapter if such fee is estimated to be ten dollars or more. [Emphasis added.]
9. It is found that the respondents delayed providing the complainant with copies of the requested records, for which the complainant offered to prepay in cash, because of a then existing dispute between the complainant and the respondents concerning an amount outstanding for copies of records totalling over $100.00, which amount the complainant had issued a check for, but subsequently stopped payment on.
10. Section 1-15(c), G.S., permits the respondents to require prepayment of a fee of ten dollars or more, and the respondents could therefore, have required prepayment of the amount in dispute, described in paragraph 9, above.
Docket #FIC 1996-200 Page 3
11. It is found however, that nothing in the FOI Act permits the respondents to deny the complainant prompt access to copies of the requested records, the cost of which exceeded ten dollars, and which the complainant offered to prepay in cash.
12. It is therefore, concluded that the respondents violated §§1-19(a) and 1-15(a), when they failed to promptly provide the complainant with copies of the requested records.
13. The Commission in its discretion declines to impose a civil penalty in this matter.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness requirement of §§1-19(a) and 1-15(a).
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 11, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket # FIC 1996-200 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:
Angela D. Raymond
c/o Nancy Burton, Esq.
147 Cross Highway
Redding Ridge, CT 06876
Ann W. Klebacha, Land Use Coordinator, Town of Brookfield; Eugene Golaszewski, Chairman, Zoning Commission, Town of Brookfield; John Martino, Jr.; Stanley Parker;
Ralph E. Ragette; and Joan A. Gould as Members of Zoning Commission, Town of Brookfield
c/o Francis J. Collins, Esq.
148 Deer Hill Avenue
PO Box 440
Danbury, CT 06810
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission