FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Paul Sobel, Joel Green and

Green and Gross, P.C.,

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-475

Building Inspector, Town of

Greenwich; and Public Works

Department, Building Inspection

Division, Town of Greenwich,

 
  Respondents  June 8, 2005
       

             

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 7, 2005, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2004-471, Paul Sobel and Green and Gross, P.C. v. Building Inspector, Town of Greenwich; and Public Works Department, Building Inspection Division, Town of Greenwich.

   

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 letter dated September 20, 2004, the complainants requested that the respondents provide them with copies of 14 blueprint-sized drawing sheets with respect to the construction of a new home at 536 River Road in Greenwich [hereinafter “the requested records”]. 

 

3.  It is found that upon receiving the letter described in paragraph 2, above, the respondent building inspector telephoned the complainant Sobel, and informed him that the respondents neither make copies of the requested records, nor do they have copies made.  It is further found that at such time, the respondent building inspector informed the complainants that the respondents had a long-standing procedure, as described in paragraph 4, below, by which the complainants could receive copies of the requested records.

 

4.  It is found that the respondents do not have the capability of producing copies of blueprint-sized records.  It is further found that, for at least the last 20 years, the respondents have employed the following procedure when requests are made for copies of such records:

 

a)  the respondents provide requesters with the map and 

     page numbers of the records requested;

 

b)  the respondents provide the requesters with contact

numbers for local copying firms who have the capability of producing blueprint-sized copies;

 

c)  requesters contact such a local firm, pay for the 

     requested copies, and provide the local firm with the

     appropriate map and page numbers;

 

d)  the local firm dispatches an employee to the

     respondents’ offices, signs out the appropriate records,

     brings such records to the firm’s place of business,

     copies such records, and returns such records to the

     respondents’ offices. 

 

e)  the local firm provides the appropriate copies to the

     requester.  

 

5.  By letter dated October 14, 2004, and filed on October 15, 2004, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated 1-212, G.S., by refusing to provide copies of the requested records.  

 

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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours…, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212…Each such agency shall keep and maintain all public records in its custody at its regular office or place of business in an accessible place….”

 

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 complainants followed the procedure described in paragraph 4, above, and received copies of the requested records. 

 

9.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainants could not demonstrate that they were in any way harmed by the procedure described in paragraph 4, above.  The complainants did not dispute the copying fee, but rather the fact that they had to go to an outside firm to receive copies of the requested records, rather than have the respondents act as intermediary for them in their request. 

 

10.  It is concluded that 1-212, G.S., does not require that the respondents act as intermediary when copying facilities are not available on site.  It is concluded that such provision requires that the respondents provide some procedure whereby “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”    

 

11.  At the hearing in this matter, the respondents argued, and it is found, that the procedure described in paragraph 4, above, complies with the requirements of 1-212, G.S. 

 

12.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint. 

 

            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:

 

Paul Sobel, Joel Green and

Green and Gross, P.C.

1087 Broad Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604-4231

 

Building Inspector, Town of Greenwich; and

Public Works Department, Building Inspection

Division, Town of Greenwich

c/o Aamina Ahmad, Esq.

Town Attorney’s Office

101 Field Point Road

Greenwich, CT 06830

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-475FD/paj/6/10/2005