OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|Raymond F. Hallowell,|
|against||Docket #FIC 1997-270|
|President, Quassett Lake
|Respondents||May 27, 1998|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 19, 1997 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.
2. It is found that by letter dated June 6, 1997, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of all correspondence and meeting schedules concerning Pomfret School use of Quassett Lake District property (hereinafter requested records).
3. It is found that on July 23, 1997, by telephone, the complainant again requested that the respondent provide him with the correspondence described in paragraph 2, above, at which time the respondent refused to provide the complainant with a copy of a July 3, 1997 letter.
4. The complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated August 20, 1997 and filed on August 21, 1997, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by denying him a copy of the requested records.
5. At the hearing on this matter, the complainant requested that the Commission impose a civil penalty of at least $1.00 upon the respondent.
6. With respect to the request for correspondence, described in paragraph 3, above, it is found that at the time of the complainants July 23, 1997 request, the respondent had a July 3, 1997 letter that was responsive to such request. The respondent testified at the hearing on this matter that he did not provide the complainant with a copy of the July 3, 1997 letter at the time of the complainants request because he believed that proper procedure required that he first apprise the Quassett Lake Association District board of the existence of such letter prior to providing the complainant with a copy.
7. It is found that the complainant eventually obtained a copy of the July 3, 1997 letter during a 7:00 p.m. July 23, 1997 meeting of the Quassett Lake Association District board.
8. It is found that the July 3, 1997 letter is a public record within the meaning of §1-18a(5) and §1-19(a), G.S.
9. Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part, provides:
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. [Emphasis added.]
10. It is found that the respondents reason for denying the complainant a copy of the July 3, 1997 letter, described in paragraph 6, above, constitutes a rule that conflicts with the provisions of §1-19(a), G.S.
11. It is found that under the facts of this case the respondent failed to provide the complainant with a copy of the July 3, 1997 letter promptly, within the meaning of §1-19(a), G.S.
12. It is therefore, concluded that the respondent violated §§1-15(a) and 1- 19(a), G.S.
13. With respect to the complainants request for meeting schedules described in paragraph 2 above, §1-21, G.S., requires that each public agency provide the public with at least twenty four hours notice of all regular and special meetings.
14. It is found that the respondent provided the complainant with at least twenty four hours notice of all meetings concerning the Pomfret School use of Quassett Lake District property.
15. It is therefore, concluded that the respondent did not violate §1-21(a), G.S.
16. The Commission does not find that a civil penalty is warranted in this matter.
1. If any records responsive to the complainants request exist that have not yet been provided to the complainant, forthwith, the respondent shall provide the complainant with a copy of such records.
2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of §§1- 15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 27, 1998.
_________________________ Doris V. Luetjen Acting Clerk of the Commission
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Raymond F. Hallowell 125 Valley View Drive South Windsor, CT 06074-2830
President, Quassett Lake District Association c/o Brian J. Kennedy P.O. Box 683 Putnam, CT 06260
__________________________ Doris V. Luetjen Acting Clerk of the Commission