FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Misty Williams and Dawn Massey,  
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-510

Jill Wood, Assistant to Assessor,

Town of Branford,

 
  Respondent July 27, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 26, 2005, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  At the hearing, the hearing officer granted Dawn Massey party status and the case caption was modified accordingly.  For purposes of hearing, contested cases, docket #s FIC 2004-442, Misty Williams and Dawn Massey v. Jill Wood, Assistant to Assessor, Town of Branford, FIC 2004-476, Misty Williams and Dawn Massey v. Jill Wood, Assistant to Assessor, Town of Branford and FIC 2004-544, Misty Williams and Dawn Massey v. Jill Wood, Assistant to Assessor, Town of Branford were consolidated with the above-captioned case.

                             

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 letters dated October 9 through November 2, 2004, the complainants made twenty requests to the respondent requesting “a certified copy on paper of the complete town record” that identifies the individual who inspected/appraised the following properties, and the date such individual inspected the property:

 

i)                    10 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List; 

ii)                   19 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

iii)                 1 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

iv)                 12 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

v)                  136 Red Hill Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

vi)                 8 Autumn Ridge Road- inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

vii)               25 Northford Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

viii)              12 Autumn Ridge Road- inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

ix)                 6 Abbie Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

x)                  29 Autumn Ridge Road inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

xi)                 25 Lamphiers Cove Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

xii)               2 Autumn Ridge Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

xiii)              30 Montgomery Parkway- inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xiv)             5 South Montowese Street – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xv)               4 Juniper Point Road – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xvi)             76 Sunset Beach Road – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xvii)            Wheelers Island – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xviii)          11 Wakefield Road – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xix)             14 Juniper Point Road – inspection for the 2003 Grand List; and

xx)               8 Juniper Point Road – inspection for the 2003 Grand List.   

 

3.  It is found that by letters dated October 12 through November 4, 2004, the respondent, through Trista Clyne, Administrative Assistant to the First Selectman, acknowledged receipt of nineteen of the requests, and indicated that the Town of Branford (“town”) would review its records to locate any responsive documents and would notify the complainants accordingly.

 

4.    By letter dated November 8, 2004 and filed on November 10, 2004, the complainants appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide them with the certified records requested.  The complainants requested that civil penalties be imposed upon the respondent.

 

 5.  It is found that Trista Clyne received all of the records requests, as described in paragraph 2, above, and such requests are the ones at issue in this appeal.

 

6.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides that:

 

Except 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 … (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.  [Emphasis added].

 

7.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., further provides that: “[A]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record”.

 

8.  With respect to the requests as described in paragraph 2, above, it is unclear from the record whether records responsive to the complainants’ requests exist.

 

9.  Consequently, it is concluded that to the extent the respondent maintains records concerning the properties described in paragraph 2, above, that are responsive to the complainants’ requests and have not provided the complainants with a certified copy of such records, the respondent violated 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.  However, to the extent that no records exist that are responsive to the complainants’ requests, the respondent did not violate 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

10.  Both the complainants’ and the respondent’s requests to consider the imposition of civil penalties are denied.

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

1.  Forthwith, the respondent shall search the town’s records wherever located and provide the complainants with a certified copy of any existing records found (including, but not limited to field cards and lists such as Complainants’ Exhibit H and Respondent’s Exhibit 1), whether such records are stored electronically or in paper format, concerning the following properties, and which records identify in any way a person(s) or business entity that was either assigned to, or did inspect the following properties:

 

i)                    10 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List; 

ii)                   19 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

iii)                 1 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

iv)                 12 Sybil Creek Place – inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

v)                  136 Red Hill Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

vi)                 8 Autumn Ridge Road- inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

vii)               25 Northford Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

viii)              12 Autumn Ridge Road- inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

ix)                 6 Abbie Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

x)                  29 Autumn Ridge Road inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

xi)                 25 Lamphiers Cove Road- inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

xii)               2 Autumn Ridge Road inspection for the 2003 Grand List;

xiii)              30 Montgomery Parkway- inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xiv)             5 South Montowese Street – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xv)               4 Juniper Point Road – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xvi)             76 Sunset Beach Road – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xvii)            Wheelers Island – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xviii)          11 Wakefield Road – inspection for the 2002 Grand List;

xix)             14 Juniper Point Road – inspection for the 2003 Grand List; and

xx)               8 Juniper Point Road – inspection for the 2003 Grand List.   

 

2.  If no records are found, the respondent shall forthwith, provide the complainants with an affidavit indicating that after a complete and thorough search of the town’s records no records responsive to the complainants’ requests were found.  Such affidavit shall indicate the nature and extent of the respondent’s search.   

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 27, 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:

 

Misty Williams

225 Stony Creek Road

Branford, CT 06405

 

Dawn Massey

225 Stony Creek Road

Branford, CT 06405

 

Jill Wood, Assistant to Assessor,

Town of Branford

c/o Elizabeth P. Gilson, Esq.

383 Orange Street

New Haven, CT 06511

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-510FD/paj/8/3/2005