FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Frederick J. Kroll,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1997-284

Director of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven,

 

 

Respondents

March 27, 1998

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 27, 1998, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. Contested cases docket #s FIC 1997-192, Frederick J. Kroll v. Director of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven, FIC 1997-194, Frederick J. Kroll v. Director of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven, FIC 1997-163, Frederick J. Kroll and Frederick J. Kroll Electric v. Director of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven and FIC 1997-326, Frederick J. Kroll v. Director, Department of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven, were consolidated with the above-captioned matter for purpose of hearing.

        The records at issue in this complaint are identical to those in contested case #FIC 1997-326, Frederick J. Kroll v. Director, Department of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven.

        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 letter dated August 28, 1997, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of all of the following records (hereinafter "requested records") concerning the 1997 Harborfest and Streetfest ( "festivals") accounts, specifically:

i) the original certificate of insurance provided by Andrew Struthers/ Northeast Technical ("Northeast") as proof of workers’ compensation coverage for both festivals;

ii) financial statements showing payment to Northeast, including any extras or subcontractors;

iii) invoices submitted to the city of New Haven by Northeast;

iv) written reports submitted by Northeast for all production activities as per specifications Part A contractors responsibility; and

v) all deposit statements of money provided by the sponsors.

        3. It is found that by letter dated September 5, 1997 the respondent advised the complainant to "cease and desist" from further communicating with her department and if he continued she would consider it harassment.

        4. It is found that on or about September 6, 1997 the complainant faxed to the respondent a copy of the August 28, 1997 request, described in paragraph 2, above indicating that if she did not respond he would file a complaint with the FOI Commission.

        5. By letter dated September 7, 1997 and filed on September 8, 1997, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying him a copy of the requested records. The Commission docketed the September 7, 1997 letter of complaint as contested case #FIC1997-284, Frederick J. Kroll v. Director of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven.

        6. By letter dated October 8, 1997 and filed with the Commission on October 9, 1997, the complainant filed a second appeal with the Commission alleging that the respondent still had not provided him with access to the requested records. The Commission docketed the October 8, 1997 letter of complaint as contested case #FIC1997-326, Frederick J. Kroll v. Director, Department of Cultural Affairs, City Of New Haven.

        7. It is found that the respondent maintains records responsive to the complainant’s request and such records 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.

        8. It is also found that the respondent has not provided the complainant with copies of the requested records.

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

        10. At the hearing on this matter the respondent indicated that she is the only employee in her office and she did not receive the complainant’s August 28, 1997 request until she returned from vacation sometime approximately during the middle of September 1997. The respondent further indicated that while she was away on vacation no other person was authorized to open her mail.

        11. It is found that the respondent needs to implement a workable system to promptly address FOI requests while she is away from her office so that the public’s right to access public records is not compromised.

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

        1. The respondent shall forthwith, provide the complainant with access to inspect the requested records, and provide him with a copy of any such record that he requests copied.

        2. The respondent shall forthwith, implement procedures within her department to ensure that the public’s right to access public records promptly is not impeded while she is away from her office for extended time periods.

        3. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the promptness provision 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:
Frederick J. Kroll
234 Helen Street
Hamden, CT 06514

Director of Cultural Affairs, City of New Haven
c/o Atty. David B. Greenberg
Corporation Counsel
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1997-284/FD/tcg/03271998