FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Barbara Grassi,  

Complainant

 

against

Docket #FIC 1996-086

Board of Health, City of Middletown,  

Respondent

February 26, 1997

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 8, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The case was reopened for the taking of additional evidence on January 2, 1997.

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 February 14, 1996, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with access to the report naming the individual who filed a complaint about the complainant’s chickens.

3. It is found that shortly after receiving the complainant’s February 14 request, the respondent conversed with the complainant via telephone concerning that request.

4. On February 28, 1996, the respondent mailed to the complainant a copy of the requested report with the name of the individual who filed the complaint about the chickens ("filer") redacted.

5. It is found that the requested report is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

6. By letter filed on March 1, 1996, and by follow-up letter dated March 23, 1996, and filed on March 27, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her access to that portion of the requested report that identifies the filer.

7. With respect to the allegations contained in paragraph 6, above, the respondent claims that it is an enforcement agency with police powers and a civilian complaint reporting procedure wherein complainants are treated like police informants. The respondent accordingly contends that the record of the filer’s name is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(A), G.S.

8. Section 1-19(b), G.S., in relevant part states:

Nothing in sections 1-15, 1-18a, 1-19 to 1-19b, inclusive, and 1-21 to 1-21k, inclusive, shall be construed to require disclosure of … (3) records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of (A) the identity of informants not otherwise known ….

9. It is found that the respondent enforces city ordinances and applicable laws including the Middletown health and housing codes.

10. It is found that the respondent has certain criminal enforcement powers.

11. It is found that the respondent is a law enforcement agency within the meaning of 1-19(b)(3), G.S.

12. It is concluded that the record of the filer’s name is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(A), G.S.

13. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the provisions of the FOI Act under the facts of this case.

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

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 26, 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:

Barbara Grassi
107 Phedon Parkway
Middletown, CT 06457

Board of Health, City of Middletown
c/o Timothy Lynch, Esq.
Office of City Attorney
PO Box 1300
Middletown, CT 06457-1300

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-086/FD/eal/02281997