FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-568
June 25, 1997

In the Matter of a complaint by Anthony Ruggiero, Complainant
against
Town Manager, Town of South Windsor; and Town of South Windsor, Respondent

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 2, 1997, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letter dated October 22, 1996, the complainant requested of the respondent town manager copies of "all notes, reports, memo’s [sic], minutes of meetings, telephone logs, research documents, and correspondence on the subject of assessing dealer & repairer marker plates, from the year 1980 to the present."

3. Having failed to receive a response to his October 22, 1996 request, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated October 30, 1996, and filed with the Commission on November 11, 1996.

4. The respondents claim that they previously had provided the complainant with copies of all known records responsive to the complainant’s October 22, 1996 request.

Docket #1996-568 Page 2

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

Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, 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.

6. Section 1-15(a), G.S., also in relevant part provides that "[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record."

7. It is found that prior to the complainant’s October 22, 1996 letter of request, the respondents had provided the complainant, in response to earlier requests by him, with copies of records responsive to the October 22, 1996 request and that after a diligent search, no additional records responsive to the October 22, 1996 request were found to exist.

8. It is also found that although the respondents believed that they had already provided the complainant with the requested records, the complainant was unaware of this fact when he made his October 22, 1996 request.

9. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondents’ failure to respond to the complainant’s October 22, 1996 request constituted a denial of that particular request within the meaning of 1-21i(a), G.S.

10. It is therefore concluded that the respondents violated 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., by failing to comply specifically with the complainant’s October 22, 1996 request.

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

1. Henceforth the respondents shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S.

2. The Commission believes that this complaint could have been avoided if the respondents merely communicated with the complainant in a timely fashion to the effect that they had previously provided him with copies of all records responsive to his October 22, 1996 request.

Docket #1996-568 Page 3

3. Nothing herein shall be construed to indicate that the respondents did not act in good faith in dealing with the complainant in this matter.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 25, 1997.

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

Docket #1996-568 Page 4

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:
Anthony Ruggiero
30 Overlook Road
South Windsor, CT 06074

Town Manager, Town of South Windsor; and Town of South Windsor
c/o Barry D. Guliano, Esq.
Phelon, Fitzgerald & Wood, PC
773 Main Street
Manchester, CT 06040

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-568/FD/eal/06301997