FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Nancy Hayes,  

Complainant

 

against

Docket #FIC 1996-277

Danbury Building Department,  

Respondent

May 14, 1997

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 4, 1996, at which time the complainant and 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. It is found that by letters dated October 11, 1995 and June 24, 1996, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with a copy of the blueprint of her condominium unit ("record requests").

3. By letter of complaint dated July 1, 1996 and filed with the Commission on July 8, 1996, the complainant alleged that the respondent failed to respond to, or comply with her record requests.

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

5. It is found that the complainant received a copy of the requested record from the respondent on November 26, 1996.

6. 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 . . .

7. Section 1-15(a), G.S., provides that:

[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. . . .

8. The respondent contends that: staff shortages; a disorganized filing and storage system for such records; the inability of staff to locate the requested record using the address provided by the complainant; and the mistaken belief that compliance had in fact occurred resulted in delayed disclosure of the requested record.

9. The respondent contends further that even though the respondent has the requested record in its vault, it is not legally required to maintain the requested record, rather, that is the responsibility of the town clerk.

10. It is found that it is the respondent’s duty to ensure that the public is provided with prompt access to its public records, wherever maintained or located; and it is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of the requested record.

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 disclosure provisions of 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 14, 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:

Nancy Hayes
17 Candlelight Drive
Danbury, CT 06810

Danbury Building Department
c/o Peter N. Buzaid, Esq.
59 Main Street
Danbury, CT 06810

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC1996-277/FD/eal/05231997