FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Maria McKeon,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-300

Robert E. Lee, Town Manager,

Town of Hebron; and Vicki

Avelis, Bill Cox, Karen Strid,

Catherine Marx, and Scott

Kaufman, as members, Board

of Selectmen, Town of Hebron,

 
  Respondents  June 8, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 29, 2005, 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(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, by e-mail dated June 30, 2004, the complainant requested that the respondent town manager provide her with a copy of a prepared statement read by the respondent Strid at a June 28, 2004 public meeting of the board of education for the regional school district of Hebron, Andover and Marlborough [hereinafter “the meeting”].  

 

3.  It is found that, by e-mail dated June 30, 2004, the respondent town manager   informed the complainant that he did not have the record described in paragraph 2, above.  It is further found that the complainant then sent a second June 30, 2004 e-mail to the respondent town manager, wherein she informed the respondent town manager that she was requesting a copy of the record described in paragraph 2, above, from the entire town government, including the Hebron Board of Selectmen.  There is no evidence in the record to suggest that the respondent town manager responded to such second e-mail.  

 

4.  By e-mail dated July 7, 2004, and filed with the Commission on July 8, 2004, the complainant alleged that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act by denying her a copy of the record described in paragraph 2, above.  The complainant requested that civil penalties be imposed against the respondents. 

 

5.  By letter dated December 27, 2004, the respondents requested that a civil penalty be imposed against the complainant.   

 

6.  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…receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212….

 

7.  Section 1-212(a), 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.” 

 

8.  It is found that the respondent Strid prepared a document consisting of notes and talking points to which she could refer during the meeting, on her home computer.  It is found that such document is the record described in paragraph 2, above [hereinafter “the requested record”]. 

 

9.  It is found that the respondent Strid did not save the requested record on her home computer.  It is further found that after the respondent Strid utilized the printed version of the requested record at the meeting, she immediately discarded it. 

 

10.  It is found that, at the time of the requests described in paragraphs 2 and 3, above, the respondents did not keep on file or maintain the requested record within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.   Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., as alleged in the complaint.   

 

11.  On brief, the complainant contends that the respondents violated the FOI Act by improperly destroying a public record.  However, such allegation was not fairly raised in the complaint.  Moreover, issues of records retention and destruction are within the jurisdiction of the state public records administrator.   

 

12.  The Commission notes that the respondents did not reply to the complainant’s second June 30, 2004 e-mail, and that a full explanation to the complainant at such time may have avoided the need for the time-consuming administrative hearing in this matter.  The Commission declines to consider the imposition of a civil penalty against 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 hereby dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 8, 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:

 

Maria McKeon

117 Senate Brook Drive

Amston, CT 06231

 

Robert E. Lee, Town Manager,

Town of Hebron; and Vicki

Avelis, Bill Cox, Karen Strid,

Catherine Marx, and Scott

Kaufman, as members, Board

of Selectmen, Town of Hebron

c/o Donald R. Holtman, Esq.

Katz & Seligman

130 Washington Street

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-300FD/paj/6/9/2005