OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Docket #FIC 2000-345
City Attorney, Office
January 10, 2001
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested
case on September 20, 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),
By letter dated May
23, 2000, to the respondent, the complainant requested a copy of “any drafts
of the Utility Service Procurement Policy.”
By letter dated June
6, 2000, the respondent informed the complainant that only one preliminary
draft of that policy exists which is no longer under consideration by the city
of Bridgeport. The respondent also informed the complainant that the requested
record is exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(1), G.S., because “the
city of Bridgeport has determined that (1) the release of said document would
cause unnecessary confusion to the public; (2) it is in the public interest
for said draft to be retained by this office; and (3) that this public
interest outweighs the public interest in disclosing said document.”
By letter dated June
26, 2000 and filed on June 28, 2000, the complainant appealed to this
Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”)
Act by failing to comply with its request.
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 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.
Section 1-212(a), G.S.,
provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall
receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record
. . . .”
It is found that the
requested record is a public record within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S.
contends that the requested record is a “preliminary draft or note” within
the meaning of §1-210(b)(1), G.S., and is exempt from mandatory disclosure.
G.S., provides in relevant part that nothing in the FOI Act shall be construed
to require disclosure of “preliminary drafts or notes provided the public
agency has determined that the public interest in withholding such documents
clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure . . . .”
1-210(c)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part that notwithstanding the
provisions of subdivision (1) of subsection (b), disclosure shall be required
or intra-agency memoranda or letters, advisory opinions, recommendations or
any report comprising part of the process by which governmental decisions and
policies are formulated, except disclosure shall not be required of a
preliminary draft of a memorandum, prepared by a member of the staff of a
public agency, which is subject to revision prior to submission to or
discussion among the members of such agency.
Shew v. Freedom of Information Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that
“the concept of preliminary [drafts or notes], as opposed to final [drafts
or notes], should not depend upon .
. . whether the actual documents are subject to further alteration . . .”
but rather “[p]reliminary drafts or notes reflect that aspect of the agency’s
function that precede formal and informed decision making . . . . It is
records of this preliminary, deliberative and predecisional process that
. . . the exemption was meant to encompass.”
Shew v. Freedom of Information Commission 245 Conn. 149, 165
is found that in 1999, pursuant to the request of the co-chairpersons of the
city council for the city of Bridgeport, the respondent drafted
recommendations for a utility services policy that consisted of two pages of
handwritten notes of information that she gathered for said policy from
talking with other members of the city council.
The handwritten recommendations constitute the record at issue in this
is found that the respondent met with one of the co-chairpersons of the city
council and shared her recommendations for a utility services policy as they
were reflected in her notes which recommendations were rejected by said
co-chairperson. Subsequently, a new city council was elected with a new
chairperson(s) that set a different course for developing a utility services
policy, without regard to the respondent’s initial recommendations.
is found that the respondent’s recommendations, as shared with the then
co-chairperson, were intended to provide, in a preliminary fashion,
suggestions regarding what the utility services policy should include as
offered by some of the other council members.
is found that the requested record reflects that aspect of the city council’s
policy development process that preceded formal and informed decision-making
and were part of the preliminary, deliberative and predecisional process of
developing said policy.
is therefore found that the requested record is a preliminary draft or note
within the meaning of §1-210(b)(1), G.S.
is found that the respondent has determined that the public interest in
withholding the requested record clearly outweighs the public interest in
is also found that while the requested record constitutes a report comprising
part of the process by which governmental decisions and policies are
formulated . . .” within the meaning of §1-210(c)(1), G.S., such record
also constitutes a “preliminary draft .
. . prepared by a member of the staff of a public agency . . . subject to
revision prior to submission to or discussion among the members of such agency”
within the meaning of said statute.
on the foregoing, it is concluded that the requested record is exempt from
mandatory disclosure pursuant to §§1-210(b)(1) and 1-210(c)(1), G.S.
is further concluded that the respondent did not violate §§1-210(a) or
1-212(a), G.S., by denying the complainant’s request for a copy of the
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.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 10, 2001.
Dolores E. Tarnowski
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:
c/o Donal C. Collimore, Esq.
Collimore and Collimore
1150 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06430-6040
of the City Attorney, City of Bridgeport
c/o Melanie J. Howlett, Esq.
999 Broad Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604-4328
Dolores E. Tarnowski
Clerk of the Commission