FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-156
January 22, 1997
In the Matter of a Complaint by Edward A. Peruta, Complainant(s)
against
Steven Smith, Town Manager, Town of Rocky Hill, Respondent(s)

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 17, 1996, at which time the complainant and respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The case-caption has been amended to correctly identify the individually named respondent in this matter.

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. It is found that on May 13, 1996 ("May request"), the complainant made an in person oral request to inspect and receive a copy of "all legal opinions rendered to the Town of Rocky Hill ("town"), and all Freedom of Information Commission ("FOIC") decisions rendered to, or involving the town."

3. It is found that at the time of the complainant’s May request the respondent searched his files and could not find any responsive records.

4. By letter of complaint dated and filed with the Commission by facsimile transmission on May 14, 1996 ("appeal"), the complainant alleged that the respondent failed to comply with his May 13, 1996 oral request for access to certain records. The complainant requested the imposition of a civil penalty.

5. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

6. It is found that the respondent contacted the complainant on or about May 18, 1996, to inform him that the requested FOIC decisions had been located, and that he could review them.

7. It is found that when the complainant went to the respondent’s office to view the file containing the FOIC decisions he found that the file was not complete.

8. It is found that the complainant subsequently obtained copies of the FOIC decisions that were not in the respondent’s file from the Commission.

9. It is found that the respondent contacted the complainant on or about May 20, 1996, to inform him that the requested legal opinions had been found, and that he could review them.

10. Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part provides that:

… all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law … 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 [which also provides for a prompt copy] …

11. It is found that the respondent did not promptly provide the complainant with the requested records as required by 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.

12. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly comply with the complainant’s May request.

13. In its discretion the Commission declines to impose a civil penalty against the respondent.

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

1. Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-15(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 22, 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:

Edward Peruta
38 Parish Road
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

Steven Smith, Town Manager, Town of Rocky Hill
c/o Stephen Morelli, Esq.
Roggi & Morelli
2080 Silas Deane Highway, Suite 301
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-156/FD/eal/01291997