FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Jeannine Gagnon,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1997-284

Director, Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission; and the Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission,

 

 

Respondents

March 25, 1998

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 9, 1998, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, this case was consolidated with Docket #FIC1997-322, Jeannine Gagnon v. Chairman, Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission and Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission.

        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(1), G.S., (prior to October 1, 1997, 1-18a(a), G.S.).

        2. On or about September 15, 1997, the complainant requested of the respondent director whether a particular form pertaining to insurance benefits for the complainant’s mother (hereinafter "insurance form"), who formerly held the position of director for the respondent commission, had been completed and returned to the insurance company seeking such information. Thereafter, having failed to receive an affirmative response from the director, on September 18, 1997, the complainant requested from the chairman of the respondent commission whether the insurance form had been completed, and was told that the chairman believed it had. The complainant then requested a copy of the completed insurance form on that date from the chairman of the respondent commission and again on September 19, 1997.

        3. By letter dated and filed September 23, 1997, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents had failed to provide the requested form and seeking help from the Commission to obtain it.

        4. It is found that sometime just after the filing of the complaint in this matter, the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of the completed insurance form, which form despite the earlier representations made to the complainant, had apparently not been completed until September 24, 1997.

        5. It is found that the requested insurance form had not been completed, and therefore did not exist, at the time the complainant’s requests for it.

        6. It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not technically violate the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide the complainant with the requested insurance form, since it did not exist at the time of the request; and because the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of the form promptly after it was completed.

        7. In view of the conclusion reached in paragraph 6, above, the Commission can not consider the imposition of civil penalties in this case, as requested by the complainant at the hearing on this matter.

        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.  Although compelled to dismiss this complaint, based upon the findings and conclusion in paragraphs 4 through 6, of the findings above, the Commission wishes to express its disappointment concerning the respondents’ failure to complete the requested insurance form in a time frame responsive to the complainant’s needs, and failure to communicate accurately with the complainant concerning the status of such form.

        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:
Jeannine Gagnon
18 Tarrywile Lake Road
Danbury, CT 06810

Director, Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission; and the Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission
c/o Atty. Stephanie Lane
Cummings & Lockwood
CityPlace I
Hartford, CT 06103-3495

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1997-306/FD/tcg/03271998