FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
the Matter of a Complaint by
First Selectman, Town of Southbury;
above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 29, 1999, at
which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain
facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and
conclusions of law are reached:
The respondent first selectman is a public agency within the meaning of
G.S., [formerly §1-18a(1),
It is found that by letter dated March 31, 1999 and sent April 1, 1999,
the complainant requested that the respondent first selectmen provide him with
the following (“hereinafter requested records”):
amount of money [the town of] Southbury has in Reserve Funds at M.B.I.A. Municipal Investors Service Corp., 113
King Street, Armonk, NY; and
amount the [town of] Southbury has on record in the General Fund, located at Bank Boston, 100 Federal Street, Boston,
It is found that the respondent first selectman received the request on
or about April 5, 1999 and responded by letter dated April 7, 1999, indicating
that the request was being referred to the Fiscal Office and that as soon as
the information was received it would be forwarded to the complainant.
Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainant, by
letter dated April 22, 1999 and filed on April 26, 1999, appealed to the
Commission alleging that the respondent first selectman violated the Freedom
of Information Act by denying him
access to the “amount in each investment”.
It is found that by letter dated May 3, 1999, the respondent first
selectman provided the complainant with certain balances representing the “money
the town has on deposit in Bank Boston and MBIA”.
The Fiscal Office had provided the balances to the respondent first
It is found that on or about May 19, 1999 counsel for the respondent
first selectman provided the complainant with a revised set of balances.
The revised balances represented the amount of money at MBIA, broken
out into reserve and general funds, and the amount of money at “Banc Boston”,
all of which was described as general fund.
It is found that the balances provided to the complainant on the two
separate occasions described in paragraphs 5 and 6 above, were different, the
first representing balances not broken out into reserve and general funds, and
the latter, balances broken out as described in paragraph 6, above.
It is found that following receipt of the first set of balances,
described in paragraph 5 above, the complainant relied on such balances, using
the figures in a letter he wrote which was published in a local newspaper.
It is found that the complainant was embarrassed when he was criticized
that the figures he cited in his letter, relying on the balances provided to
him by the respondent first selectman, were erroneous.
The complainant contends that the first set of balances was
intentionally provided to him to mislead him.
It is found that the first set of balances provided to the complainant,
described in paragraph 5 above, was not responsive to the complainant’s
records request as described in paragraph 2a and 2b, above.
12. It is also found that the balances provided to the complainant, described in paragraphs 5 and 6 above, were not provided “promptly” within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S, [formerly§1-19(a), G.S.], the first set, provided approximately one month after receipt of the complainant’s request, and the second set, provided in excess of one month of receipt of the request.
13. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, however, there is no evidence to support the complainant’s contention that the balances provided to him initially were provided with the intention of misleading him. Rather, it is found that the Fiscal Office’s figures were not accurate with respect to the specific breakdown that the complainant requested.
following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the
record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
Henceforth, the respondent First Selectman shall strictly comply with
the promptness requirement of §1-210(a), G.S. [formerly §1-19(a), G.S.].
The Commission suggests that since the Fiscal Office is the public
agency that maintains the records at issue in this case, all future requests
for such types of records should be appropriately directed by a requestor to
the Fiscal Office, thereby reducing the amount of time it took in this case
for a request to be first submitted to the First Selectman’s Office, which
office then has to await a response from the Fiscal Office, before the
requestor receives a response.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of
Information Commission at its regular meeting of
March 8, 2000.
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
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
82 Scout Road
First Selectman, Town of Southbury; and
Town of Southbury
c/o Atty. Gail E. McTaggart
Secor, Cassidy & McPartland
41 Church Street
PO Box 2818
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission