FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Gail E. Sinclair,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-416
Board of Selectmen,
Town of Canaan,
Respondents April 28, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 11, 1999, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. At the hearing in this matter, Gabriel Seymour requested, and was granted, intervenor status.

        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. By a November 23, 1998 verbal request, and by letter dated the same day, the complainant requested that the Town of Canaan provide her with access to correspondence pertaining to the Falls Village Transfer Station (hereinafter "station") from January, 1982 through December, 1992.

        3. By letter dated November 23, 1998 addressed to the complainant and copied to the station’s director (hereinafter "the director"), the first selectman provided the complainant with access to all station records available at town hall, and requested that records at the station be made available for the complainant’s review. By such letter, the first selectman also made available to the complainant access to records in the town vault which might contain older station records.

        4. By letter dated November 27, 1998, the director informed the first selectman that all station records in his custody would be made available to the complainant but that he did not maintain station records prior to 1995, when he became station manager.

        5. It is found that the complainant subsequently reviewed all records made available by the director, as described in paragraph 4, above.

 

        6. It is found that, on December 14, 1998, the first selectman conducted a thorough search of records in town hall and determined that all station records within town hall had been compiled for, and made available to, the complainant.

        7. By letter dated and filed with the Commission on December 30, 1998, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to properly maintain station records.

        8. It is found that the respondent promptly provided the complainant with all records which it maintains responsive to the request described in paragraph 2, above.

        9. Therefore, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act in its response to the request described in paragraph 2, above.

        10. It is found that the station was in existence for several years prior to 1995. It is further found that very few station records are maintained by the town which pre-date 1995.

 

        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. Since the facts found in paragraph 10, above, raise alarming concerns about the management of pre-1995 station records by the town, the complainant is strongly encouraged to contact the state Public Records Administrator for any and all appropriate action.

 

 

        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:

 

Gail E. Sinclair
76 Barnes Road
Falls Village, CT 06031
Board of Selectmen,
Town of Canaan
c/o Atty. Judith Dixon
Dixon and Brooks, PC
45 Center Street
Winsted, CT 06098
and
Gabriel Seymour
Route 126, No. 200
Falls Village, CT 06031

 

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-416FD/mrb04301999