FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-503
July 9, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by Ethan Book, Jr., Complainant
against
State of Connecticut, Office of the Treasurer, Respondent

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 16, 1997, at which time the complainant 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 Section 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letter dated December 12, 1996, the complainant requested of the respondent copies of records representing the 1987 request of the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority (the "CRRA") for the approval of the State Treasurer for the issuance of certain bonds on behalf of the Bridgeport Resource Recovery Project, together with the records representing the response of the State Treasurer.

3. By letter dated December 29, 1996 and filed with the Commission on December 30, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond promptly to the request described at paragraph 2, above.

4. By letter dated January 7, 1997, the respondent furnished a copy of a record indicating the 1987 approval of the State Treasurer for the bond issue in question, but did not address the portion of the complainant’s request which asked for records relating to the CRRA’s request for the State Treasurer’s approval.

5. It is found that, subsequently, the respondent made all its records concerning the bond issue in question available to the complainant for inspection, and that the complainant did inspect such records.

6. It is found that the respondent has furnished the complainant with all records in his custody that relate to the complainant’s request.

7. 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….

[emphasis added]

8. It is concluded that, under the circumstances of this case including a year-end transition in relevant personnel and the holiday season, the respondent’s delay in responding to the complainant’s request constitutes at most a technical violation of 1-19(a), G.S.

9. It is found that, after a hesitant start, the respondent acquitted its Freedom of Information responsibilities admirably, apologizing in writing to the complainant for the initial delay, and extending itself both in follow-up correspondence and in personal service to the complainant.

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 comply with 1-19(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 9, 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:
Ethan Book, Jr.
PO Box 1385
Fairfield, CT 06430

State of Connecticut, Office of the Treasurer
c/o John G. Haines, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-503/FD/eal/07231997