OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket #FIC 2004-292|
First Selectman, Town of Cromwell;
and Superintendent of Schools, Cromwell
|Respondents||June 22, 2005|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 20, 2004, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. After the hearing, the complainant and the respondent superintendent reached an agreement that settled the complaint with respect to the respondent superintendent. By letter dated December 21, 2004, the complainant informed the Commission that he wished to withdraw his complaint against the respondent superintendent.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. It is found that the respondent first selectman is a public agency within the
meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
2. By letter dated May 13, 2004, to the respondent first selectman, the
complainant requested a copy of his “entire personnel [file], including all documents referring or relating to accusations that he committed a theft, harassment, threatening, tardiness and any other wrongful acts, and any investigation and statements by any employee, agent or official of these matters.”
3. It is found that the respondent first selectman did not respond to the complainant’s May 13, 2004 request.
4. By letter dated June 25, 2004 and filed on June 29, 2004, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent first selectman violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request.
5. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
[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. 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 . . .
6. Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant that “any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record . . . .”
7. At the hearing on this matter, the complainant indicated that the only records at issue are “the video surveillance tapes from the Edna G. Stevens School for the entire work shift that the theft of the computer allegedly occurred” (hereinafter “the tapes”) and therefore that is the only issue that will be addressed herein.
8. It is found that the tapes were originally the property of the Cromwell Board of Education and were provided to the Cromwell Police Department (hereinafter “CPD”) during the CPD’s investigation of an alleged computer theft at one of the schools. It is further found that the CPD maintains the tapes in its property room, within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S.
9. Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is found that the respondent first selectman did not keep on file or maintain the tapes at the time of the request described in paragraph 2, above.
10. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint.
11. Notwithstanding the conclusion in paragraph 10, above, it is found that the respondent first selectman’s failure to respond to the complainant’s request until the hearing in this matter is indefensible and the Commission encourages the respondent first selectman to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the law embodied in the FOI Act and to respond to requests made to him under the FOI Act.
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 22, 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:
Town of Cromwell
c/o John W. Bradley, Esq.
Rome McGuigan, P.C.
One State Street
Hartford, CT 06103-3101
Superintendent of Schools,
Cromwell Public Schools
c/o Craig S. Meuser, Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
One Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103-1919
Petrea A. Jones
Acting Clerk of the Commission