FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-116
January 8, 1997
In the Matter of a Complaint by David W. Cummings, Complainant
against
Chairman, State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission and State of Connecticut, Workers’Compensation Commission, Respondents

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 6, 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 by letter dated March 8, 1996 the complainant requested that the respondent chairman provide him with the dates, location and the amount of time he would be allowed to inspect State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation petty cash records, such as vouchers, memoranda, original canceled checks and records to support petty cash payments (hereinafter "petty cash records").

3. It is found that by letter dated April 2, 1996, the chairman provided the complainant with a copy of petty cash records pertaining to an April 1995 $25.00 civil penalty payment to the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Commission.

4. By letter of complaint dated and filed on April 8, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent chairman violated the FOI Act by denying him access to inspect all petty cash records.

5. The complainant contends that the respondent chairman failed to allow him to inspect all petty cash records, while the respondents contend that the complainant’s request was limited to the petty cash records pertaining to the civil penalty payment, described in paragraph 2, above.

6. It is found that the complainant’s request, though not perfectly worded, when taken in its entirety, is a request to inspect all of the respondents’ petty cash records.

7. It is found that the respondents maintain petty cash records in several district offices.

8. It is found that the petty cash records, described in paragraphs 6 and 7 above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

9. 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. [Emphasis added.]

10. It is found that the respondent chairman’s April 2, 1996 response to the complainant, described in paragraph 3 above, though a good faith attempt to assist the complainant, is not entirely responsive to the complainant’s request to inspect all of the respondents’ petty cash records.

11. It is therefore, concluded that the respondents violated 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with access to inspect all petty cash records.

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 access to inspect all petty cash records, including, original canceled checks, vouchers, memoranda and records authorizing petty cash payments.

2. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-19(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 8, 1997.

__________________________
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:

David W. Cummings
P.O. Box 166
Broad Brook, CT 06016

Chairman, State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission and State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission
c/o Michael J. Giammatteo, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
P.O. Box 120
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06141-0120

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-116/FD/eal/011796