FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
David A. LeBlanc,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-337

Chairman, Police Commission,

Town of Watertown; and

Town Manager,

Town of Watertown,

 
  Respondents May 11, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 9, 2004, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The matter was consolidated for hearing with docket #FIC 2004-246, David A. LeBlanc v. Police Commission, Town of Watertown.

 

            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(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter filed July 27, 2004, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his July 9, 2004 requests for records.

 

3.  By letters dated July 9, 2004 to both respondents, the complainant asked:

 

… to peruse all letters, correspondence and emails sent or received by you from Meredith Robson – Town Manager, Robert Kane - Town Council Chairman, and Police Chief John Carroll that pertain to Police Commission business, for the months of May 2004, and June 2004.

 

4.  It is found that the respondent Town Manager faxed a response to the complainant on July 26, 2004 that she had no records responsive to the complainant’s


request, and that the respondent Chairman of the Police Commission responded similarly on July 30, 2004.

 

5.  It is found that the respondents have no records responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

6.  At the hearing on this matter, the complainant requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondent’s chairman, Thomas Durso, and Town Manager Meredith Robson.

 

7.  Section 1-206(b)(2), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

… upon the finding that a denial of any right created by the Freedom of Information 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. 

 

8.  Given the lack of any records responsive to the complainant’s request, the complainant’s request for the imposition of a civil penalty is denied.  However, the Commission notes that the complainant received no response to his request until he filed a complaint with the Commission, and that no complaint or hearing would have been necessary had the respondents simply communicated with the complainant. 

 

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1.  The complaint is dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 11, 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:

 

David A. LeBlanc

223 Middlebury Road

Watertown, CT 06795

 

Chairman, Police Commission,

Town of Watertown, and

Town Manager,

Town of Watertown

c/o Paul R. Jessell, Esq.

680 Main Street

PO Box 9

Watertown, CT 06795

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-337FD/paj/5/12/2005