FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-221
January 8, 1997
In the Matter of a Complaint by Rita M. Pacheco, Complainant
against
Parks and Recreation Commission, City of Torrington, Respondent

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 25, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letter dated May 22, 1996, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with copies of the following, which she informed the respondent she intended to pick up at the respondent’s office on May 30, 1996:

a) the minutes from each of the respondent’s 1996 meetings (specifically the minutes from January 1996 through April, 1996); and

b) the minutes for all future meetings within seven business days of those meetings.

3. It is found that in response to the complainant’s request identified in paragraph 2, above, the respondent’s chairperson telephoned the complainant to discuss her request and also contacted the respondent’s secretary to direct him to complete any minutes not already on file on or before the complainant’s May 30, 1996 proposed retrieval date.

4. It is found that when the complainant arrived at the respondent’s offices on May 30, 1996 to pick up the requested minutes, those minutes were not available.

5. By letter dated June 4, 1996, and filed on June 6, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her copies of the requested minutes on May 30, 1996.

6. Section 1-21(a), G.S., in pertinent part provides: … minutes shall be available for public inspection within seven days of the session to which they refer….

7. Section 1-19(a), G.S., in pertinent part states: [e]xcept as otherwise provided by federal law or state statute, 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 … or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15 [which provides (a) [a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record].

8. It is found that the respondent conducted meetings on the following dates between January 1, 1996 and April 30, 1996: January 3, 1996, February 7, 1996, February 15, 1996, March 6, 1996 and April 3, 1996.

9. It is found that the minutes to the respondent’s January 3 and February 15, 1996 meetings were completed and duly filed within seven days of those meetings.

10. It is also found, however, that the respondent failed to have minutes to its February 7, March 6 and April 3, 1996 meetings available for public inspection within seven days of such meetings.

11. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-21(a), G.S., with respect to the availability of its February 7, March 6 and April 3, 1996 minutes.

12. It is found that the minutes to the respondent’s January 3, February 7, February 15, March 6 and April 3, 1996, meetings are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

13. It is also found that ultimately in June, 1996, the respondent provided the complainant with all requested minutes except those for its February 15, 1996 meeting.

14. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with a copy of the minutes to its February 15, 1996 meeting and by failing to promptly provide the complainant with copies of the minutes of its January 3, February 7, March 6 and April 3, 1996 meetings.

15. It is found that the respondent is not in violation of any provision of the FOI Act for failing to provide the complainant with records not yet in existence at the time of her request, as described in paragraph 2b) of the findings, above. However, this Commission notes that the complainant has rights pursuant to 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., to request such records once they come into existence.

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide to the complainant a copy of the minutes to its February 15, 1996 meeting free of charge.

2. The respondent shall forthwith strictly comply with the provisions of 1-21(a), 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S.

3. Although the provisions of the FOI Act do not require the respondent to comply with prospective requests for records not yet in existence, this Commission urges the respondent in the spirit of cooperation to comply with such requests whenever practically possible.

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:

Rita M. Pacheco
67 D Squire Hill
Torrington, CT 06790

Parks & Recreation Commission, City of Torrington
153 South Main Street
Torrington, CT 06790

__________________________

Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-221/FD/eal/1011796