FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Grace M. Lineberry,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1999-223
David H. Larson, Superintendent of
Schools, Middletown Public Schools;
Richard A. Cormier, Assistant
Superintendent of Schools, Middletown
Public Schools; and Middletown Public
Schools,
Respondents August 11, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 28, 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 April 12, 1999, the complainant requested that the respondent superintendent provide her with copies of a number of records related to her retirement benefits, including:

a) attendance records of all teachers for whom she substituted in 1974-1975 and 1975-1976 (hereinafter "1974-1976 records"); and

b) a substitute teacher list, required by regulation, and sent to the Department of Education for the years 1974-1976 (hereinafter "the list").

        3. By letter dated April 22, 1999, the respondent assistant superintendent made available to the complainant approximately 100 pages of the requested records. By such letter, the complainant was informed that the respondents did not maintain either the list or the 1974-1976 records in their offices.

        4. By letter dated and filed with the Commission on May 11, 1999, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter "FOI") Act by denying her copies of the 1974-1976 records and the list. The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties in this matter.

        5. 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, 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…

(Emphasis added.)

        6. It is found that the 1974-1976 records were destroyed in accordance with an approved State Public Records Administrator retention schedule, and that such administrator approved such destruction on August 18, 1994.

        7. It is concluded that, at the time of the request described in paragraph 2, above, the 1974-1976 records were not maintained or kept on file by the respondents within the meaning of the 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.]

        8. It is further found that all requested records which were maintained or kept on file by the respondents were made available to the complainant by the letter described in paragraph 3, above. Accordingly, it is concluded that, at the time of the request described in paragraph 2, above, the list was not maintained or kept on file by the respondents within the meaning of the 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.]

        9. It is further concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], as alleged in the complaint.

        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. The Commission urges better communication between the parties in future FOI disputes and encourages use of the Commission’s ombudsman process.

 

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

August 11, 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:

 

Grace M. Lineberry
c/o Thomas Lineberry
22 Butternut Lane
Newington, CT 06111

David H. Larson, Superintendent of
Schools, Middletown Public Schools;
Richard A. Cormier, Assistant
Superintendent of Schools, Middletown
Public Schools; and Middletown Public
Schools

c/o Attorney Brian Clemow
Shipman & Goodwin
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103-5711

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-223FD/mes/08111999