FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Juan Arriola,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-149
Patrick Proctor, Superintendent of Schools,
Windham Public Schools; and Windham
Board of Education, Windham Public Schools,
Respondents October 14, 1998

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 5, 1998, at
which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and
presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing,
this case was consolidated with Docket # FIC1998-148, Dayna McDermott against
Principal, North Windham School, Windham Public Schools; and Windham Board of
Education, Windham Public Schools
.

     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, on April 30, 1998, the respondent board and the complainant
reached terms of a settlement resolving Docket # FIC1998-012, Juan Arriola against
Chairman, Board of Education, Town of Windham; and Board of Education, Town of
Windham
(hereinafter “Docket # FIC1998-012”), whereby the respondents provided the
complainant with records responsive to the request for legal bills at issue in that matter,
and agreed to disclose information in the same format should the complainant make
future requests for similar records. It is found that, at such time, the complainant received
itemized billing records from one law firm (hereinafter “firm A”) and a summary of legal
expenses from a second law firm (hereinafter “firm B”). The Commission takes
administrative notice of its June 10, 1998 decision in Docket # FIC1998-012, approving
such settlement.

     3. By letter dated May 5, 1998, the complainant requested that the respondent
board provide him with access to “…all attorney fees and legal bills incurred by the
Windham Board of Education from January 1, 1998 to present with regard to the
suspensions of Dayna McDermott Dumas and Juan B. Arriola including, but not limited
to, all correspondences, interviews, transcripts, board presentations, telephone calls,
responses to and appearances before state agencies, and expenditures incurred thus far in
contract termination proceedings.”

     4. By letter dated May 21, 1998 and filed on May 26, 1998, the complainant
appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of
Information (“FOI”) Act by denying him access to the records described in paragraph 3,
above, in accordance with the terms of the settlement described in Docket # FIC1998-
012, and referenced in paragraph 2, above. The complainant requested that civil penalties
be imposed upon the respondents.

     5. Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part, provides:

[e]xcept 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….

     6. It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the
meaning of 1-19(a), G.S.

     7. By letter dated June 10, 1998, the respondents provided the complainant with
a billing summary from firm B.

     8. The complainant contends that the billing summary described in paragraph 7,
above, is deficient in that it is not itemized. However, it is found that such record is
responsive to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 3, above, and that it
complies with the terms of the settlement reached in Docket # FIC1998-012, and
referenced in paragraph 2, above.

     9. It is further found that, at the time of the complainant’s request, the
respondents did not maintain any records from firm A responsive to such request, other
than those records which had already been supplied to the complainant in settlement of
Docket # FIC1998-012.

     10. In consideration of the foregoing, it is concluded that the respondents did not
violate the provisions of 1-19(a), G.S., under the facts of this case.

     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
October 14, 1998.

_________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
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:

Juan Arriola
c/o Dayna McDermott
218 West Old Route 6
Hampton, CT 06247

Patrick Proctor, Superintendent of Schools,
Windham Public Schools; and Windham
Board of Education, Windham Public Schools,
c/o Atty. Thomas B. Mooney
Shipman & Goodwin, LLP
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103


__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission


FIC1998-149FD/mrb10151998