FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Raul A. Rodriguez and the Latino
and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-313
Chief, Police Department, Town of
Bloomfield; and Police Department,
Town of Bloomfield,
Respondents April 28, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 29, 1998, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. At the April 14, 1999 regular meeting of the Commission, this matter was reopened and Lee Tager was permitted to intervene as a party. Thereafter, this matter was scheduled to be heard on April 21, 1999. However, such hearing was canceled based upon the Commission’s receipt of the letter described in paragraph 11 of the findings, below.

        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 1-200(1), G.S. [formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.]

        2. By letter dated September 4, 1998, the complainants requested that the respondents provide them with copies of documents related to the disciplinary action arising from the posting of a "Death Sentence from 1881" by Sergeant Tager, and any appeal thereof (hereinafter "disciplinary records"), as well as a breakdown of the racial makeup of the respondent department.

        3. Having failed to receive the requested records, by letter dated and filed October 9, 1998, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by such failure.

        4. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], which provides in relevant part:

[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained…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…hours or to receive a copy of such records….

        5. It is found that the respondents provided the complainants with the requested breakdown, as described in paragraph 2, above, on December 2, 1998.

        6. It is also found that the respondents provided the complainants with some disciplinary records on December 24, 1998.

        7. It is further found that the respondents provided the complainants with additional disciplinary records on December 29, 1998.

        8. The complainants contend that the respondents have failed to provide all responsive records and that records related to a contemporaneous disciplinary incident which resulted in a criminal investigation should have been provided, as well.

        9. However, it is found that the contemporaneous incident described in paragraph 8, above, was a separate matter not within the scope the request described in paragraph 2, above.

        10. It is further found that, at the time of the hearing, the respondents had failed to provide the complainants with one disciplinary record consisting of a request for discipline, authored by a lieutenant in the respondent department (hereinafter "the lieutenant’s request").

        11. The Commission takes administrative notice of a letter dated and received at the Commission on April 20, 1999, by which the intervening party informs the Commission that he does not object to release of the lieutenant’s request and asks that such April 20, 1999 letter be accepted in lieu of his appearance at the scheduled April 21, 1999, hearing.

        12. Since the subject employee does not object to disclosure of the lieutenant’s request, it is concluded that 1-210(b)(2), G.S. [formerly 1-19(b)(2), G.S.], the exemption for certain personnel files, cannot apply to such record. See Chairman, Board of Education, Town of Darien, and Board of Education, Town of Darien v. Freedom of Information Commission and Walter J. Casey, No. CV97-0575674, Sup. Ct., Judicial District of Hartford at Hartford (McWeeny, J.) (Nov. 20, 1998).

        13. It is further concluded that the respondents violated 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], by denying the complainants a copy of the lieutenant’s request, and by failing to promptly comply with the request described in paragraph 2, above.

 

        The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

        1. The respondents shall forthwith provide the complainants with a copy of the lieutenant’s request described in paragraph 10, of the findings above.

        2. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness and disclosure provisions of 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.]

 

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 28, 1999.

 

 

_________________________

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:

 

Raul A. Rodriguez
and the Latino and
Puerto Rican Affairs
Commission
c/o Atty. Eliot Prescott
Assistant Attorney General
PO Box 120, 55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Chief, Police Department, Town of
Bloomfield; and Police Department,
Town of Bloomfield
c/o Atty. Eric D. Coleman
101 Oak Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Atty. Jeff S. Tager
Tager & Johnson
29 Wintonbury Avenue
Bloomfield, CT 06002-2538

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-313FD/mrb05031999