FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Susann McCarthy,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-485

State of Connecticut, Department

of Education, Bureau of Certification

and Professional Development, BEST Department,

 
  Respondent October 11, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 7, 2005, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, by e-mail dated October 12, 2004, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with a copy of the master list of teachers registered for the BEST program in school year 2003-04, and a copy of the master list of teachers registered for the BEST program in school year 2004-05 [hereinafter “the requested records”].  

 

3.  It is found that BEST is a program offered by the respondent in which “beginning” teachers can receive supplemental training at various sessions scheduled throughout the state during the year.     

 

4.  It is found that, by return e-mail dated October 15, 2004, the respondent informed the complainant that she would be provided with copies of the requested records by November 1, 2005.    

 

5.  By e-mail dated and filed with the Commission on October 20, 2004, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act by denying her copies of the requested records for an anticipated period of over one year, as described in paragraph 4, above.  

 

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, by e-mail dated October 20, 2004, the complainant informed the respondent that a wait of over one year was not acceptable, and that, by return e-mail the respondent informed the complainant that the date of 2005 described in paragraph 4, above, was a typographical error, and it anticipated that copies of the requested records would be provided to her by November 1, 2004, as soon as all available registration information was received and compiled by the respondent. 

 

9.  It is found that the respondent provided the complainant with copies of the requested records via e-mail dated November 1, 2004. 

 

10.  It is found that, by e-mail dated November 2, 2004, the complainant amended her complaint and alleged that, on October 22, 2004, the respondent cancelled her registration in certain BEST training sessions, in retaliation for her records request described in paragraph 2, above.  It is found that such November 2, 2004 e-mail was transmitted to the respondent in the Order To Show Cause in this matter. 

 

11.  It is concluded that the allegation described in paragraph 10, above, does not allege a violation of the FOI Act. 

 

12.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant contended that she was improperly excluded from a “meeting” of the respondent when she was denied access to a BEST teacher training session on October 26, 2004.  Only an extremely liberal reading of the complainant’s expansive November 2, 2004, e-mail described in paragraph 10, above, would find that such allegation was fairly raised therein.  It is concluded that the crux of such e-mail was that the respondent unfairly cancelled her registration because she had made a request for records.      

 

13.  Section 1-200(2), G.S., defines “meeting” to mean:

 

“any hearing or other proceeding of a public agency, any convening or assembly of a quorum of a multimember public agency, and any communication by or to a quorum of a multimember public agency, whether in person or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power…”

 

14.  It is found that the October 26, 2004, BEST training session described in paragraph 12, above, was not a “meeting”, within the meaning of 1-200(2), G.S.

 

15.  Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint and the November 2, 2004 e-mail described herein.   

 

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 special meeting of October 11, 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:

 

Susann McCarthy

1310 Berlin Turnpike, Suite 303

Wethersfield, CT 06109

 

State of Connecticut, Department

of Education, Bureau of Certification

and Professional Development, BEST Department

c/o Ralph E. Urban, Esq. and

M.J. McCarthy, Esq.

Assistant Attorneys General

PO Box 120

55 Elm Street

Hartford, CT 06141-0120

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-485FD/paj/10/12/2005