FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Aurice Barlow,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket # FIC 2004-561

State of Connecticut, Office of

the Attorney General,

 
  Respondent July 27, 2005
       

            

The respondent in the above-captioned matter moved to dismiss the complaint without a hearing, on March 21, 2005.  The complainant filed an objection to such motion on March 24, 2005. 

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1.  Section 1-206(b)(4), G.S., provides that:

 

“[n]otwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of an appeal to the commission of a denial by a public agency, the commission may, upon motion of such agency, confirm the action of the agency and dismiss the appeal without a hearing if it finds, after examining the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, that (A) the agency has not violated the Freedom of Information Act, or (B) the agency has committed a technical violation of the Freedom of Information Act that constitutes a harmless error that does not infringe the appellant’s rights under said act.”

 

2.  The December 16, 2004, notice of appeal in this matter alleges that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act by denying, pursuant to 1-210(b)(13), G.S., the complainant’s November 29, 2004, request for the outcome of an investigation, which the complainant alleges she initiated as a whistleblower.  The notice of appeal also alleges that the respondent violated the complainant’s rights under the whistleblower statute, 4-61dd, G.S.   

 

             3.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

(a)  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…receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212….”

 

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

 

5.  Section 1-210(b)(13), G.S., exempts from mandatory disclosure “[r]ecords of an investigation or the name of an employee providing information under the provisions of section 4-61dd.”

 

6.  Section 4-61dd(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

Any person having knowledge of any matter involving corruption, unethical practices, violation of state laws or regulations, mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority or danger to the public safety occurring in any state department or agency or any quasi-public agency, as defined in section 1-120, or any person having knowledge of any matter involving corruption, violation of state or federal laws or regulations, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority or danger to the public safety occurring in any large state contract, may transmit all facts and information in his possession concerning such matter to the Auditors of Public Accounts. The Auditors of Public Accounts shall review such matter and report their findings and any recommendations to the Attorney General. Upon receiving such a report, the Attorney General shall make such investigation as he deems proper. At the request of the Attorney General or on their own initiative, the auditors shall assist in the investigation. The Attorney General shall have power to summon witnesses, require the production of any necessary books, papers or other documents and administer oaths to witnesses, where necessary, for the purpose of investigation. Upon the conclusion of his investigation, the Attorney General shall where necessary, report his findings to the Governor, or in matters involving criminal activity, to the Chief State's Attorney. The Auditors of Public Accounts and the Attorney General shall not, after receipt of any information from a person under the provisions of this section, disclose the identity of such person without his consent unless the Auditors of Public Accounts or the Attorney General determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation.”

 

            6.  It is found that both the notice of appeal in this matter, and the complainant’s objection to the motion to dismiss the complaint, allege that the record at issue herein is an investigation within the meaning of the whistleblower statute, 4-61dd, G.S. 

 

7.  Construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, it is concluded that the record at issue is exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of 1-210(b)(13), G.S., and it is also concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act by denying the complainant a copy thereof. 

 

8.  In her objection to the motion to dismiss the complaint, the complainant contends that, as the whistleblower, she has a right to the results of the investigation under 1-210(b)(13) and 4-61dd, G.S.  However, it is concluded that neither statute gives a whistleblower special rights of access, as the complainant contends.

 

9.  In the notice of appeal in this matter and in the objection to the motion to dismiss, the complainant also alleges that the respondent violated her rights under the whistleblower statute, that the respondent reneged on certain promises made to her, that the whistleblower statute is unfair, and that the whistleblower statute should be abolished.  In the objection to the motion to dismiss this matter, the complainant seeks the right to address the Commission regarding her concerns as to the effectiveness of the whistleblower statute and why it should be abolished. 

 

10.  It is concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the allegations and issues described in paragraph 9, above. 

               

Consequently, the following order by the Commission is hereby recommended:

 

1.  The action of the respondent in this matter is confirmed, and the complaint is hereby dismissed without a hearing pursuant to 1-206(b)(4), G.S. 

 

 

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:

 

Aurice Barlow

18 Crescent Street, 1st floor

Hartford, CT 06106

 

State of Connecticut,

Office of the Attorney General

c/o Stephen R. Park, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

55 Elm Street

PO Box 120

Hartford, CT 06141-0120

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-561FD/paj/8/1/2005