OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
|Docket #FIC 2002-528|
First Selectman, Town of Griswold,
|August 13, 2003|
above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 13, 2003, at
which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
is found that on or about October 22, 2002, the complainant visited the town
of Griswold (“town”) clerk’s office and requested to review all “handgun
permit applications for the last ten years” (hereinafter “requested
records”). It is found that the
town clerk denied the complainant’s request and suggested that the
complainant direct such request to the respondent.
Thereafter, the complainant visited the respondent’s office and made
a similar request to the respondent’s secretary, who suggested that the
complainant speak directly to the respondent.
The complainant was then contacted by phone by the respondent who told
the complainant to put his request in writing.
The complainant refused and the respondent denied the request.
3. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on November 4, 2002 the complainant appealed, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying him access to inspect the requested records.
4. It is found that the
respondent has custody of, and maintains some of the requested records.
Specifically, the respondent testified at the hearing in this matter
that he believes he maintains pistol permit applications, which he processed,
for the years 1996 through the present.
The respondent also testified that some of the requested records may be
in the custody of the State Police, the Borough of Griswold (“Borough”)
Warden and/or Borough Burgesses.
5. Section 1-200(5), G.S., in
relevant part, provides that public records or files mean
“any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the
public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public
agency … whether such data or information be handwritten, typed,
tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other
Section 1-210(a), G.S., further provides in relevant part:
Except 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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours… 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. [Emphasis added.]
7. It is concluded that
the permit applications at issue are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5)
and 1-210(a), G.S.
8. The respondent contends that
the requested records contain social security numbers, dates of birth and
motor vehicle operators’ license numbers and are therefore not disclosable.
9. The complainant indicated at
the hearing in this matter that he is not interested in the information
described in paragraph 8, above, and is willing to accept the requested
records with such information redacted.
10. It is found that the
respondent does not want to provide the requested records to the complainant
even in a redacted form. It is also found that the respondent has not provided any
statutory basis for withholding the requested records.
The respondent’s only explanation is that upon consultation with the
State Police he was advised not to provide such records to the complainant.
11. It is found that the requested records contain the following categories of information: name, date of birth, sex, height, weight, race, place of birth, social security number, residential address, previous residential addresses for past seven years, mailing address, home phone number, motor vehicle operators license number, state of issue, pistol permit number (non-resident applicants), state of issue, expiration date, employment history, permit history, medical history, criminal activity history, military history and proof of training.
12. With respect to social
security numbers, this Commission has consistently not ordered disclosure of
such information. However, with
respect to the remaining categories of information, as described in paragraph
11, above, it is concluded that the respondent failed to prove that such
information is exempt from disclosure by federal law or state statute.
13. It is therefore concluded that in the absence of federal law or state statute that bars disclosure of the information contained in the requested records, such records are disclosable pursuant to §1-210(a), G.S.
14. It is further concluded that the respondent could have, and should have redacted the requested records, and then disclosed them to the complainant. Because he failed to do so, the respondent violated §1-210(a), G.S.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Forthwith, the respondent shall permit the complainant to inspect the requested applications maintained by the respondent. The respondent may redact such applications to mask social security numbers, dates of birth, motor vehicle operators’ license numbers and medical history.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of
August 13, 2003.
Ann B. Gimmartino
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:
193 Cemetery Road
Canterbury, CT 06331
Town of Griswold
32 School Street
Griswold, CT 06351-2399
Ann B. Gimmartino
Acting Clerk of the Commission