FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Wesley S. Lubee, Jr.,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1997-372

Wallingford Senior Citizen Center, Town of Wallingford,

 

 

Respondents

April 8, 1998

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 29, 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. By letter received by the respondent on November 18, 1998, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with a copy of its senior citizens membership mailing list (hereinafter "list").

        2. Having failed to receive the requested record, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated November 19, 1997 and filed November 21, 1997.

        3. By letter dated December 17, 1997, the complainant made a second written request for the list, but was denied access to such record.

        4. The respondent contends that it is not a public agency subject to the Freedom of Information (hereinafter "FOI") Act.

        5. The test for determining whether an entity such as the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S., is one of functional equivalence, as outlined by the Supreme Court in Board of Trustees of Woodstock Academy v. FOI Commission, 181 Conn. 544, 554 (1980), and consists of the following four criteria: (1) whether the entity performs a governmental function; (2) the level of government funding; (3) the extent of government involvement or regulation; and (4) whether the entity was created by government.

        6. Based upon Connecticut Humane Society v. FOI Commission, 218 Conn. 757, 761 (1991), all four factors in Woodstock, above, are not necessary for a finding of functional equivalence, but rather "all relevant factors are to be considered cumulatively, with no single factor being essential or conclusive."

        7. It is found that the respondent is operated by its parent organization, the Wallingford Committee on Aging, Inc. (hereinafter "committee"), a non-profit corporation incorporated in the State of Connecticut in 1987 and that the respondent’s purposes are to provide a venue where the older adults of Wallingford can meet to receive services and participate in activities, and to encourage such citizens to become involved in the community.

        8. With respect to the first criterion of the functional equivalence test (governmental function), it is found that, although at one time the legislature authorized municipalities to establish committees on aging, such authorization was repealed in 1982, and that accordingly the respondent does not directly perform any traditional governmental function.

        9. With respect to the second criterion of the functional equivalence test (level of government funding), it is found that respondent leases its premises from the Town of Wallingford (hereinafter "town") for the fee of one dollar per year and that the town provides substantial in-kind services to the respondent. It is further found that the respondent has received substantial funds from the town through the committee, including approximately 68% of its funding sources. It is also found, however, that the town accounted for such contributions to the committee as contributions to a social service organization, and that the town also made other contributions to social service organizations within the community, including the Association for the Retarded, the Youth Service Bureau, and the Elderly Meals Program.

        10. With respect to the third criterion of the functional equivalence test (extent of government involvement or regulation), it is found that the respondent is administered by the committee, whose fifteen volunteer directors are not employed by the town and whose officers are not subject to extensive, day-to-day supervision by government authorities.

        11. With respect to the fourth criterion of the functional equivalence test (whether the entity was created by government), it is found that although the committee was incorporated with the approval of the Wallingford Town Council, neither it nor the respondent were specifically created by government.

        12. Based on the foregoing, it is concluded therefore that the respondent is not the functional equivalent of a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.

        13. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondent was not required, pursuant to the provisions of the FOI Act, to provide the complainants with the requested record, as described in paragraph 1, 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.

        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:
Wesley S. Lubee, Jr.
15 Montowese Trail
Wallingford, CT 06492

Wallingford Senior Citizen Center, Town of Wallingford
c/o Atty. Jeffrey M. Donofrio
Cuilla and Donofrio, LLP
127 Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 219
New Haven, CT 06473

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1997-372/FD/tcg/04171998