OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Docket #FIC 2000-056
Superintendent of Schools,
September 13, 2000
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 16, 2000, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1),
2. It is found that by letter dated January 5, 2000, the
complainant submitted a request to the respondent (then Superintendent of
Schools, Anthony Mazzullo) for “a full accounting of what Stamford has paid
in both legal and administrative fees for my son’s due process hearing,
William Buckenheimer versus the Stamford Board of Education,” and “a full
accounting of what Stamford has paid in legal fees for both my son’s case,
and in total for all special education related cases, for the time period July
1, 1997 up until the current date” (hereinafter “requested records”).
3. By letter dated January 12, 2000, Superintendent Mazzullo
informed the complainant that he directed the board’s attorneys to compile
the information requested, and it would be provided shortly.
4. It is also found that by letter dated January 19, 2000,
directed to the respondent (current Superintendent of Schools, Michael Nast)
the complainant requested that the information, described in paragraph 2,
above, regarding his son be provided by the respondent.
5. By letter dated and filed on February 10, 2000, the
complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated
the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying him access to the
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 receive a copy of such
records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the
provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights
granted by this subsection shall be void."
7. It is found that the complainant is trying to ascertain the
costs to the Stamford Board of Education, and specifically, what monies/fees
the law firm of Shipman and Goodwin has been paid, for its services in
representing the board in Buckenheimer v. Stamford Board of Education.
8. It is found that the only records maintained by the
respondent that contain information responsive to the complainant’s request
are invoices and bills from Shipman and Goodwin.
Such invoices and bills are public records within the meaning of
§1-210(a), G.S., and have been provided to the complainant by the respondent.
9. It is also found that the respondent provided the complainant
with a January 13, 2000 summary, created by Shipman and Goodwin which contains
information about their fees.
The complainant essentially takes issue with the fees contained in the
records provided to him. He contends that such information concerning fees is
incomplete and inaccurate, in that, it does not accurately reflect, and is
inconsistent with his own accounting of what the monetary cost to Stamford for
Shipman and Goodwin’s services should be or really is.
For example, he contends that certain dates that hearings were
conducted in his son’s case have no corresponding fee for services rendered
by Shipman and Goodwin, and that fees that should have been charged in several
instances are not reflected in the information provided to him.
Commission’s jurisdiction is limited to whether the respondent provided to
the complainant records that they have, that are in any way responsive
to his request. It is found that
the respondent has provided such records to the complainant.
In addition, it is not found that the respondent has withheld existing
records from the complainant. Consequently,
the respondent has satisfied his FOI responsibility.
It is therefore, concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI
Act as alleged in the complaint.
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 September 13, 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:
47 Parish Road North
New Canaan, CT 06840
Superintendent of Schools, Stamford Public Schools
c/o Atty. Christine Chinni
Shipman & Goodwin, LLP
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103-2819
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission