FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Jeannine Gagnon,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-112
Catherine Brashich, Executive Director,
Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission,
Les Pinter, Chairman, Housatonic Valley
Tourism Commission; and Housatonic
Valley Tourism Commission,
Respondents August 12, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 23, 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.  By letter dated and filed on April 28, 1998, the complainant appealed to the 
Commission alleging that the respondents had violated the Freedom of Information 
(hereinafter “FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the Commission’s order to provide her 
with certain documents in Docket #FIC1997-322 Jeannine Gagnon against Chairman, 
Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission; and the Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission 
(hereinafter “Docket #FIC1997-322”).  The complainant requested the imposition of civil 
penalties.
	3.  The Commission takes administrative notice of the record and final decision in 
Docket #FIC1997-322.
	4.  In Docket #FIC1997-322 the Commission ordered the following:
“1.  The respondents shall forthwith provide the complainant with 
copies of those records not yet provided to the complainant, as 
described in paragraphs 14, 16 and 18 of the findings, above, free 
of charge.
2.  The respondents shall also determine whether there are any 
additional bills that have not yet been provided to the complainant, 
as described in paragraph 17, above, and if additional records are 
located, the respondents shall forthwith provide copies of such 
records to the complainant, free of charge.
3.  The respondents shall forthwith search Margaret Gagnon’s 
personnel file to determine whether any records exist responsive to 
the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2c. and 2d., 
above.  If the respondents locate any responsive records, the 
respondents shall forthwith provide the complainant with copies of 
same, free of charge.  If no records are located, the respondent 
chairman shall prepare an affidavit attesting to the fact that a 
diligent search of the respondent commission’s records has been 
conducted and that no records exist responsive to the complainant’s 
requests.
 
4.  Henceforth the respondents shall strictly comply with the 
disclosure and promptness requirements set forth in 1-19(a) and 
1-15(a), G.S.” 
	5.  Specifically, the records ordered to be provided to the complainant in paragraph 1 
of the order in Docket #FIC1997-322 were:  a policy manual of the Housatonic Valley 
Tourism Commission (hereinafter “HVTC”) (paragraph 14 of the findings in Docket 
#FIC1997-322); legal bills and backup for the years 1995, 1996 and 1997 billed to and 
paid for by the HVTC, including legal bills for Les Pinter and Violet Mattone (paragraph 
16 of the findings in Docket #FIC1997-322); and the HVTC’s internal policy concerning 
health insurance eligibility requirements (paragraph 18 of the findings in Docket 
#FIC1997-322).
	6.  With respect to the requested policy manual described in paragraph 5, above, it is 
found that the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of the manual she was 
seeking sometime in mid-May 1998.
	7.  With respect to the requested legal bills and backup described in paragraph 5, 
above, the respondents provided the complainant with copies of a number of bills in 
February 1998, prior to the issuance of the final decision in Docket #FIC1997-322.  
However, the complainant maintains that she has not received all of the bills that should be 
on file with the HVTC, based upon her review of the HVTC’s minutes, and that some of 
those provided were too light to read and/or it cannot be ascertained whether such bills 
were paid.  The respondents claim that they have provided the complainant with all of the 
bills maintained by the HVTC and that they cannot explain why all of the bills may not be 
on file, except that the HVTC was in a period of transition and its interim executive 
director may not have followed proper procedures with respect to filing all of the HVTC’s 
records.
	8.  With respect to the complainant’s request for the respondents’ internal policy 
manual, no document was ever provided to the complainant.  The respondents maintain 
that they provided the complainant with the HVTC’s employee handbook/manual in mid-
May 1998, and that that is the only document that would contain information concerning 
employee eligibility for health insurance benefits, which is the information sought by the 
complainant.  The respondents maintain that no other “internal policy” exists concerning 
health insurance eligibility.
	9.  With respect to paragraph 2 of the order in Docket #FIC1997-322, the respondents 
were ordered to search for, and provide the complainant with copies of, any additional 
bills from David Camner.  The respondents did not provide the complainant with any 
additional bills.  They maintain that they provided the complainant with all bills in their 
possession for David Camner and had done so prior to the hearing in Docket #FIC1997-
322.
	10.  With respect to paragraph 3 of the order in Docket #FIC1997-322, the 
respondents were ordered to search Margaret Gagnon’s personnel file for any documents 
instructing HVTC’s insurance company to terminate Margaret Gagnon’s insurance and 
any “COBRA” letter sent to Margaret Gagnon stating the “qualifying event” that ended 
her coverage, to provide the complainant with any documents located and if none were 
located, to prepare an affidavit attesting to a diligent search.  It is found that the 
respondents provided the complainant with an affidavit from the respondent chairman in 
mid-May 1998 wherein he states that he conducted a search of the HVTC’s files and that 
he located one letter dated August 15, 1996, a copy of which he attached to the affidavit.
	11.  The complainant maintains that other documents existed that were not provided 
to her because she received two records from the insurance company that should have 
been in HVTC’s files.  The respondents maintain that the records provided by the 
insurance company were not located in their files and that everything in Margaret 
Gagnon’s personnel file concerning insurance has been provided to the complainant.
	12.  While the Commission is concerned about the retention procedures employed by 
the HVTC and the HVTC’s apparent failure to properly maintain its records, the 
Commission finds that, although the evidence presented at the hearing on this matter was 
conflicting and not a model of clarity, the respondents have provided the complainant with 
all records that they maintain or exist within their files that are responsive to the 
complainant’s request in Docket #FIC1997-322.  The Commission cannot order the 
disclosure of records that do not exist and the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the 
retention and destruction of public records.
	13.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents have complied with the order in 
Docket #FIC1997-322 and did not violate the FOI Act under the facts and circumstances 
of this case.  Accordingly, the complainant’s request for the imposition of civil penalties is 
declined.
	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 this complaint is dismissed due to the respondents’ compliance with the 
order in Docket #FIC1997-322, the Commission notes the complainant’s claims that 
certain copies of legal bills provided were illegible.  The Commission urges the 
respondents to ascertain which copies were illegible and to provide the complainant with 
legible copies of those bills.

	Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular 
meeting of August 12, 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
Catherine Brashich, Executive Director, Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission, Les 
Pinter, Chairman, Housatonic Valley Tourism Commission; and Housatonic Valley 
Tourism Commission
c/o Atty. Stephanie E. Lane
Cummings & Lockwood
CityPlace I
185 Asylum Street
Hartford, CT 06103-3495

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1998-112/FD/tcg/08181998