FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Helen Poliferno,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-108

Marc J. Garofalo, Mayor,

City of Derby,

 
  Respondent February 9, 2005
       

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 16, 2004, at which time the complainant appeared and presented exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The respondent failed to appear, although the records of the Commission indicate that notice of the hearing was delivered to the respondent by certified mail on May 26, 2004.   At its July 28, 2004 meeting, the Commission voted to reopen this matter.  A second hearing was conducted on September 1, 2004, at which time the respondent and the complainant appeared and presented 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.

 

2.  It is found that, by letter dated January 29, 2004, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with copies of the following records, which will hereinafter be referred to as “the requested records”: 

 

a)      the names of all Derby public works employees for the years 1990 through the present;

b)      tax assessor records reflecting assessment of a section of road beginning at New Haven Avenue in the vicinity of real property known as 412 New Haven Avenue running in a northeasterly direction and intersecting with Homestead Avenue, Derby;

c)      building applications and approvals, subdivision applications and approvals, maps, certificates of occupancy, and any and all restrictions and conditions imposed by the city of Derby regarding property designated as lots 74, 75, 75A, 75B, 75C, 75D, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81 and 89 showing on assessor’s map #5, block #4;

d)      any and all easements required by any and all town agencies as said easements may affect a strip of road beginning at 412 New Haven Avenue running in a northeasterly direction and intersecting with Homestead Avenue, said property as reflected on assessor’s map #5, block #4; and

e)      a certified copy of assessor’s map #5, block #4, Lots 74, 75, 75A, 75B, 75C, 75D, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81 and 89. 

 

3.  It is found that the respondent neither provided the complainant with copies of the requested records, nor replied to the complainant’s January 29, 2004, letter prior to the filing of the complaint described in paragraph 4, below. 

 

            4.  By letter dated February 26, 2004, and filed with the Commission on March 1, 2004, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act, by failing to provide her with copies of the requested records.  The complainant asked that a civil penalty be imposed upon the respondent.   

 

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

 

“[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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.” 

 

6.  Section 1-212, G.S., provides in relevant part:  “[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 records at issue are records of the tax assessor, a separate public agency.  

 

8.   Nevertheless, it is found that by letter dated August 6, 2004, the respondent provided the complainant with copies of records responsive to the requests described in paragraphs 2.a, 2.c and 2.e, above.  

 

9.  At the September 1, 2004, hearing in this matter, the respondent contended that he need not respond to the requests described in paragraphs 2.b and 2.d, above, pursuant to Wildin v. Freedom of Information Commission, 56 Conn. App. 683 (2000) (distinguishing requests for identifiable public records from requests which require public agencies to exercise discretion to determine if records fall within the scope of the request).   

 

10.  It is found that the requests described in paragraph 2.b and 2.d, above, would require that the respondent exercise discretion to determine whether particular records are responsive to such requests.   

 

11.  It is concluded that the respondent did not violate the Freedom of Information Act in this matter.  

 

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.

 

2.  The respondent is advised that a prompt and helpful response to the complainant’s initial request for records, directing her to the appropriate agency which maintains the records she seeks, might well have avoided the need for the costly administrative hearings in this matter and the involvement of the Commission.   

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 9, 2005.

 

________________________________

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:

 

Helen Poliferno

c/o Laura M. Mooney, Esq.

203 Church Street

PO Box 702

Naugatuck, CT 06770

 

Marc J. Garofalo, Mayor,

City of Derby

c/o Warren L. Holcombe, Esq.  and

Thomas A. Carroll, Esq.

Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.

75 Broad Street

Milford, CT 06460

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-108FD/paj/2/10/2005