OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Patricia B. Greeley,
Docket #FIC 2000-237
State of Connecticut,
July 26, 2000
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested
case on June 7, 2000, at which time the complainant and the respondents
appeared, 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),
2. It is found that, by letter
dated April 18, 2000, the complainant requested that the respondents provide
her with copies of deer summaries for the years 1974 through 1979; 1980
through 1984, if in existence; and 1985 through 1995.
3. It is also found that the
complainant, by e-mail dated April 19, 2000, requested that the respondents
provide her with the number of deer killed in Ridgefield in 1999 by archery,
landowner, shotgun/rifle, muzzle-loader, crop kill, and other, as well as the
ratio of buck to doe killed in Ridgefield in 1999.
4. It is further found that, by
e-mail dated April 28, 2000 and sent to the respondents, the complainant
inquired about her April 19, 2000 “reworded” request related to deer
killed by archery.
5. It is found that, by first
e-mail dated April 28, 2000, the respondents acknowledged receipt of the
complainant’s April 28, 2000 e-mail, and informed the complainant that the
office had been very busy, but that they would supply the requested records as
soon as possible. It is found
that, by second e-mail dated April 28, 2000, the respondents provided the
complainant with information responsive to the complainant’s request, as
described in paragraph 3, above.
letter dated and filed with the Commission on May 10, 2000, the complainant
alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information [hereinafter
“FOI”] Act by failing to promptly provide her with the records requested
on April 18, 2000, as described in paragraph 2, above.
7. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
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 during
regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in
accordance with the provisions of section 1-212."
8. It is found that the
complainant did not inquire of the respondents about the progress of her
request as described in paragraph 2, above, as she had with respect to the
request described in paragraph 3, above.
It is further found that the respondents were under the mistaken but
reasonable belief that the complainant no longer wished the records described
in paragraph 2, above, as they believed that the request described in
paragraph 3, above, which the complainant characterized as “reworded”,
superceded the request described in paragraph 2, above.
It is found that the Commission notified the respondents of the filing
of the complaint in this matter by regular mail sent on May 16, 2000.
It is further found that, upon their receipt of such mailing, the
respondents realized that the complainant had not abandoned her request as
described in paragraph 2, above.
10. It is found that the request
described in paragraph 2, above, required that the respondents review records
spanning a twenty-year period. It
is found that the respondents sent copies of all existing records responsive
to such request to the complainant on May 22, 2000, free of charge.
It is further found that the complainant was in receipt of such copies
at the time of the hearing in this matter.
11. It is found that, given the
magnitude of the records needed to be reviewed in order to satisfy the
complainant’s request, as described in paragraph 2, above, and the clear
misunderstanding because of the use of the term “reworded” in the
complainant’s April 28, 2000 e-mail, the respondents acted reasonably in
complying with the complainant’s request of April 18, 2000.
12. Based upon the facts and
circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondents did not
violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint, and provided prompt access
to the records requested.
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.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 26, 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 AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Patricia B. Greeley
104 Glen Side
Wilton, CT 06897
State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection;
State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Franklin
Wildlife Management Area
c/o Atty. Carmel A. Motherway
Assistant Attorney General
55Elm Street, PO Box 120
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission