FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Philip G. Savva,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1997-225

Clinton Police Department,

 

 

Respondents

April 8, 1998

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 6, 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. (prior to October 1, 1997, 1-18a(a), G.S.).

        2. Notice of Final Decision in the matter of Docket # FIC1996-462, Philip G. Savva against Clinton Police Department, was mailed to the parties by the Commission on August 1, 1997. The Commission takes administrative notice of such decision, wherein the Commission ordered the respondent to provide the complainant with certain records and an affidavit concerning the search for such records.

        3. By letter dated August 27, 1997 and filed with the Commission on September 2, 1997, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to comply with the order described in paragraph 2, above.

        4. It is found that, in response to the order described in paragraph 2, above, the respondent conducted a thorough search of its offices for the records at issue.

        5. It is also found that, following the search described in paragraph 4, above, the respondent provided the Commission with the records and the affidavit described in paragraph 2, above, on September 5, 1997, but did not provide such affidavit and records to the complainant.

        6. It is further found that, under cover letter dated September 9, 1997, the Commission forwarded to the complainant copies of the records and affidavit described in paragraph 5, above, and that the complainant is now in receipt of all such records.

        7. It is further found that the complainant’s contention that the respondent withheld existing records which are responsive to the order described in paragraph 2, above, is without merit.

        8. It is further found that the respondent offered the complainant opportunities to personally inspect records in the respondent’s offices so that the complainant would be assured that he is in possession of all records at issue in this matter. It is further found that the complainant declined all such offers.

        9. It is further found that the affidavit prepared by the respondent meets the requirements of the order described in paragraph 2, above, despite the fact that such affidavit contains a clerical error.

        10. It is further found that the respondent substantially complied with the order described in paragraph 2, above, despite the fact that the records and affidavit described therein were mistakenly delivered to the Commission rather than to the complainant.

        11. On February 5, 1998, the respondent filed a counterclaim, alleging that the complainant frivolously filed the complaint described in paragraph 3, above, without reasonable grounds, and solely for the purpose of harassing and vexing the respondent. The respondent asked for the imposition of a civil penalty.

        12. Section 1-21i(b)(2), G.S., in relevant part states:

…[i]f the commission finds that a person has taken an appeal under this subsection frivolously, without reasonable grounds and solely for the purpose of harassing the agency from which the appeal has been taken, after such person has been given an opportunity to be heard…the commission may, in its discretion, impose against that person a civil penalty of not less than twenty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars….

        13. It is found that the complaint described in paragraph 3, above, was filed with reasonable grounds, since at the time of such filing the complainant had not received the records and affidavit described in paragraph 2, above.

        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 the Commission takes seriously the allegations set forth in paragraph 11 of the findings, above, for the reason set forth in paragraph 13 of the findings, above, the respondent’s counterclaim is hereby dismissed.

        3. Before filing future complaints, the Commission strongly advises the complainant to cooperate with the respondent in efforts to resolve their FOI disputes.

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 8, 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:
Philip G. Savva
10 Paper Mill Road
Killington CT 06419

Clinton Police Department
c/o John Bennet
P.O. Box 959
Essex, CT 06426

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1997-225/FD/tcg/04171998