FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Akin Russell, Jr.,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1997-195

Affirmative Action Officer, Affirmative Action Unit, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

 

 

Respondents

March 25, 1998

        The above-captioned matter was re-opened and heard as a contested case on January 7, 1998, 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 1-18a(1), G.S., ( 1-18a(a), G.S., prior to Oct. 1, 1997).

        2. It is found that by memorandum dated June 10, 1997, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with all notes, responses and other pertinent information concerning the Affirmative Action Unit’s investigation of a discrimination complaint he filed in January, 1997 (hereinafter "requested records").

        3. It is found that the Affirmative Action Director ("director") denied the request by memorandum dated June 19, 1997.

        4. Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainant, by letter dated June 24, 1997 and filed on June 26, 1997, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying him prompt access to the requested records.

        5. It is found that by letter dated October 10, 1997, the director provided the complainant with a copy of the requested records.

        6. Section 1-18a(5), G.S., (1-18a(d), G.S., prior to Oct. 1, 1997) defines "public records or files" as "any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method."

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

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. Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void.

        8. It is concluded that the records provided to the complainant and described in paragraph 5 of the findings, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(5), G.S., (1-18a(d), G.S., prior to Oct. 1, 1997) and 1-19(a), G.S.

        9. At the hearing on this matter the respondent failed to prove that any federal law or state statute permitted the nondisclosure of the requested records.

        10. It is therefore, concluded that the respondent violated 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with access to the requested records promptly.

        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 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 March 25, 1998.

_________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
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:
Akin Russell, Jr.
37 Cedar Lane
Norwich, CT 06360

Affirmative Action Officer, Affirmative Action Unit, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
c/o Atty. Michael J. Lanoune
Office of the Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1997-195/FD/tcg/03271998