FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-502
June 4, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by Richard DiDente and Frank DelMastro, Complainants
against
Board of Fire Commissioners, City of Shelton, Respondent

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 5, 1997, at which time the complainant DiDente 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 and delivered October 1, 1996 to a meeting of the respondent, the complainants requested to inspect by the time of the respondent’s next monthly meeting "the log book and monthly activity report" of the Fire Chief for the period from July 1, 1994 to the date of the request.

3. By letter dated October 24, 1996 and filed with the Commission on October 30, 1996, the complainants appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to the request letter of October 1, 1996.

4. It is found that at the November 5, 1996 meeting of the respondent, the complainants renewed their request and the respondent voted to provide the log book to complainants "as soon as possible." On November 6, 1996, the chairman of the respondent wrote a letter to the complainants, offering copies of the Chief’s log book at fifty cents per page.

5. It is found that there were no monthly activity reports, or records also known as "inspection reports," in existence for the period referenced by the October 1, 1996 request.

6. It is found that on December 3, 1996, complainant DiDente picked up copies of the logs at the respondent’s office for the period from July to December 1996.

7. It is also found that the respondent asked the Fire Chief to turn in any logs that he had and that the Fire Chief reported that he was unable to locate any additional log books for the period from July 1, 1994 to the date of the request.

8. Section 1-19(a), G.S., states in pertinent part:

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 during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records….

9. It is concluded that, given the terms of the request, the respondent did make copies of all relevant public records in its custody available to the complainants reasonably promptly and that there was no violation of 1-19(a), G.S.

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.

2. The Commission urges the respondent to exercise a high level of care to ensure that Freedom of Information requests receive a prompt response, including during periods between meetings, in order to avoid unnecessary complaints.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 4, 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:

Richard DiDente and Frank DelMastro
c/o Richard DiDente
48 Prospect Street
Ansonia, CT 06401

Board of Fire Commissioners, City of Shelton
c/o John H. Welch, Jr., Esq.
PO Box 668
Shelton, CT 06484

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC 1996-502/FD/eal/06161997