OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Steven P. Bosco,
Docket #FIC 2001-242
Michael DeNegris, Mayor, Town of Wolcott,
August 8, 2001
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested
case on June 29, 2001, 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, during the April 17, 2001 regular meeting
of the Wolcott Town Council [hereinafter “the town council”], the
complainant, a member of the town council, asked the respondent for copies of
records relating to a possible inquiry into misuse of sewer funds and any
responses to such inquiry [hereinafter “the requested records”].
It is also found that, at such time, the respondent asked the chairman
of such council to put such request on the respondent’s list of issues to
discuss with counsel.
3. It is found that, during the May 1, 2001 regular meeting of
the town council, the complainant reminded the respondent of the request
described in paragraph 2, above, and it is also found that the respondent
stated that the complainant would be given copies of such records.
4. By letter dated and filed on May 15, 2001, the complainant
appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom
of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act by failing to provide copies of the
requested records to the complainant. The
complainant asked for the imposition of civil penalties in this matter.
5. 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….”
6. 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….”
7. It is found that the respondent provided the complainant with
copies of the requested records on May 15, 2001, by placing such copies in the
complainant’s folder at Wolcott town hall.
It is also found that such records consist of a March 23, 2001 letter
from the state department of environmental protection to the respondent,
asking that the respondent investigate allegations of misuse of grant funds,
and an April 26, 2001 response to such department from the Wolcott town
counsel, with several attachments. At
the hearing in this matter, the complainant acknowledged that the respondent
had provided him with copies of the requested records, but nevertheless
alleged a promptness violation.
8. It is found that the provision of the March 23, 2001 letter
described in paragraph 7, above, approximately one month after the request
described in paragraph 2, above, was not prompt within the meaning of
§§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
9. It is found that April 26, 2001 letter and attachments
described in paragraph 7, above, were not maintained or kept on file by the
respondent at the time of the request described in paragraph 2, above.
However, it is also found that such records were maintained or kept on
file by the respondent at the time of the request described in paragraph 3,
At the hearing in this matter, the respondent contended that, since the
request described in paragraph 3, above, was made in the context of a town
council meeting, he believed it was appropriate to comply consistent with town
council practice by leaving the requested copies in the complainant’s folder
just prior to the following town council meeting.
While it is found that the reasoning of the respondent described in
paragraph 10, above, is understandable given the context of the request, the
provision of the April 26, 2001 letter and attachments described in paragraph
7, above, two weeks after the request described in paragraph 3, above, was not
prompt within the meaning of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
It is concluded that the respondent violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a),
G.S., as alleged in the complaint.
13. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty in this matter but takes administrative notice of the record and final decision in the matter of Docket #FIC 2001-155; Steven P. Bosco against Michael DeNegris, Mayor, Town of Wolcott, which also concluded that the respondent violated the FOI Act.
following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the
record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the promptness provisions of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
2. The respondent is advised that, pursuant to §1-206(b)(2), G.S., upon the finding that a denial of any right created by the FOI Act was without reasonable grounds and after the custodian or other official directly responsible for the denial has been given an opportunity to be heard at a hearing conducted in accordance with sections 4-176e to 4-184, inclusive, the commission may, in its discretion, impose against the custodian or other official a civil penalty of not less than twenty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 8, 2001.
Petrea A. Jones
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:
Steven P. Bosco
50 Woodward Road
Wolcott, CT 06716
Brian Tynan, Esq.
Petrea A. Jones
Acting Clerk of the Commission