OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|Julie A. Raymond,|
|against||Docket #FIC 1998-059|
|Matthew B. Galligan,
Town of South Windsor; and Town of
|Respondents||June 10, 1998|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 1, 1998 at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-18a(1), G.S.
2. It is found that by letter dated January 30, 1998, the Chief of Police (chief of police) of the South Windsor police department (department) informed the complainant that her application to participate in the departments Police and Community Together Academy (PACT) was denied because several volunteer instructors refused to participate in the classes if she was admitted and further that she had pending liability claims against the town.
3. It is found that PACT is a community oriented program, run by the department, to provide South Windsor (town) residents with an inside look at law enforcement and the operations of the department.
4. Following the PACT denial described in paragraph 2, above, the complainant, by letter dated January 31, 1998, requested that the respondent town manager provide her with information about PACT. The complainant hand delivered the January 31, 1998 letter on February 2, 1998. Specifically the complainant requested the following:
i) the names, badge numbers rank and internal police department assignments, of the volunteer instructors who refused to participate in PACT classes if the complainant were admitted as a student;ii) the name, badge number and rank of the police administrator of PACT;iii) the names of the judge(s) and prosecutors from Manchester superior court who participated in the fall PACT class and who may participate in the spring PACT class;iv) where the funding of PACT comes from and the amount; andv) the amount of funding used for PACT, if town funded, and the budget number.
5. Having failed to receive a response from the respondent town manager, the complainant, by letter dated February 27, 1998 filed this appeal on March 3, 1998, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
6. It is found that by letter dated March 13, 1998 the respondent town manager sent the complainant a response to her request in which he indicated that he did not view her request as a request subject to the FOI Act, and that some of the information requested he felt he did not have to provide. He further informed her that he was aware of the names of the volunteer instructors and that town funding for PACT is under $500.
7. Section 1-18a(5), G.S., broadly defines public records to include:
any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.[Emphasis added.]
8. Section 1-19(a), G.S., further provides that:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency 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 .
9. It is found that the complainants request constitutes a request for information relating to the conduct of the public's business within the meaning of §1-18a(5), G.S., and therefore, constitutes a request for public records under the FOI ACT.
10. However, it is found that it is the chief of police, and not the respondent town manager, that is the public agency that administers PACT and who would be knowledgeable as to what PACT records exist.
11. At the hearing on this matter, the respondent town manager essentially testified that no records concerning PACT participants and funding, responsive to the complainants request, exist. However, upon further questioning the respondent town manager indicated that a bank account number may exist. The respondent town managers testimony was not helpful in determining what records do or do not exist.
12. It is concluded that to the extent that records containing information requested by the complainant exist and were not provided to her, the respondents violated §§1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S.
13. It is further concluded that in accordance with §1-19(a), G.S., unless a federal law or state statute precludes disclosure of the information requested, the complainant is entitled to be provided with all existing records containing information that is responsive to her request.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Forthwith, the respondent town manager shall provide the complainant with all existing records containing information that is responsive to her request, as described in paragraph 4 of the findings, above. If no records exist, the respondent town manager shall provide the complainant with an affidavit attesting that no records containing information that is responsive to her request exist.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 10, 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:
Julie A. Raymond 133 Stanley Drive South Windsor, CT 06074
Matthew B. Galligan, Town Manager, Town of South Windsor; and Town of South Windsor c/o Atty. Barry D. Guliano 773 Main Street Manchester, CT 06040
__________________________ Doris V. Luetjen Acting Clerk of the Commission