FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Kevin S. Burke,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1999-099
First Selectman, Town of East Lyme;
and Town of East Lyme,
Respondents June 30, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case April 20, 1999, 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 1-200(1), G.S. [formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.]

        2. By letter dated February 9, 1999, the complainant requested access to:

the Title II, Americans With Disabilities Act (hereinafter "ADA") , Self Evaluation for the town of East Lyme;

the Title II, ADA, Transition Plan; and

a list of all Title II, ADA, Notices to the Public.

        3. It is found that, on February 17, 1999, the respondents orally advised the complainant that they did not maintain the records described in paragraph 2, above. It is further found that, at such time, the complainant requested that the respondents commit to writing the fact that they did not maintain the requested records, and that the respondents refused such request.

        4. By letter dated February 18, 1999, the complainant again requested that the respondents provide a letter of denial, contending that the respondents were in violation of the ADA.

        5. By letter dated March 2, 1999, and filed with the Commission March 3, 1999, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act in this matter. More specifically, at the hearing in this matter, the complainant contended that the respondents’ refusal, as described in paragraph 3, above, violated the FOI Act.

        6. Section 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part:

[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…receive a copy of such records….

        7. It is found that the respondents do not maintain or keep on file the records described in paragraph 2, above.

        8. It is concluded that the FOI Act requires public agencies to provide copies of public records maintained by such agencies, in response to a request for such records. However, nothing in the FOI Act requires public agencies to provide a written response to a request for public records.

        9. Based upon the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the provisions of 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], as alleged by the complainant.

        10. It is also concluded that the Commission has no authority to enforce compliance with the ADA.

        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. While the complaint is necessarily dismissed, the Commission notes that, had the respondents provided the complainant with a written response to his request, they might have avoided a costly administrative hearing at the Commission.

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of

June 30, 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:

 

Kevin S. Burke
39 Roxbury Road
Niantic, CT 06357
First Selectman,
Town of East Lyme;
and Town of East Lyme
c/o Atty. Tracy M. Collins
Waller, Smith & Palmer, PC
52 Eugene O’Neill Drive
New London, CT 06320
 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-099FD/mrb/07011999