FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

M. James Lively,

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 Docket #FIC 2002-181

Peter Mynarski, Jr., Finance Director,

Town of Trumbull; and Mary Moran,

Chairman, Police Commission, Town

of Trumbull,

 

 

Respondents

March 12, 2003

 

 

 

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 4, 2002, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(l), G.S.

2.    By letters dated April 4, 2002, the complainant made a request to the respondents for a copy of "any and all bills paid by the Town of Trumbull to Attorney Brian Clemow and or to the law firm of Shipman and Goodman for legal services rendered on or about 12/27/01" and "any and all letters, memos, reports, notes of communication between the aforementioned attorney and/or law firm and the First Selectman, Elizabeth Smith, Deputy Police Chief, Joseph Edwards, Commissioner David Wilson, Commissioner Mary Moran and Commissioner John Riordan."

3.    By letter dated April 23, 2002, and filed on April 28, 2002, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to comply with his April 4, 2002 request. The complainant requested that the Commission impose a civil penalty against the respondents.

4.        Section 1-210(a), G. S.. provides in relevant part that:

 

[e]xcept 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. 

 

            5.    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. . . ."

6.   It is found that the requested records, to the extent that such records exist, are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

7.      It is found that the Town of Trumbull's police commission held a meeting with Attorney Clemow on December 27, 2001.

8.      It is found that during the December 27, 2001 meeting, the respondent chairman took notes which she later discarded and consequently such records no longer exist.

9.      It is found that no other records pertaining to the December 27, 2001 meeting responsive to the complainant's request exist.

10.  It is found that the town has no record of a payment for legal services rendered by Attorney Clemow on December 27, 2201and that the complainant was so informed by letters dated May 6, and May 8, 2002.

11.  At the hearing on this matter the complainant claimed that the respondent chairman discard her notes deliberately to prevent the complainant from obtaining a copy of them and argued that the respondent chairman should be order to recreate the notes.

12.  It is found that the notes in question contained only scribblings, random words, and the name and business address of Attorney Clemow.

13.  It is also found that there is no evidence in the record to support a finding that the notes existed at the time of the complainant's request and were destroyed thereafter in order to deliberately prevent the complainant from obtaining a copy.

14.  It is concluded therefore that the respondents did not violate 1-210(a) or 1-212(a), G.S., as alleged by the complainant and the complainant's request for the imposition of a civil penalty is denied.

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

March 12, 2003.

 

 

________________________________________________

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:

 

M. James Lively

581 Whitney Avenue

Trumbull, CT   06611

 

 

Peter Mynarski, Jr., Finance Director,

Town of Trumbull; and Mary Moran,

Chairman, Police Commission, Town

of Trumbull

c/o Vito Mazza, Esq.

PO Box 542

Trumbull, CT   06611

 

 

 

________________________________________________

Dolores E. Tarnowski

Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2002-181/FD/det/03142003