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 2004-543

John Opie, First Selectman,

Town of Branford, 

 
  Respondent November 9, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 2, 2005, at which time the complainants and the respondent 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 2004-542, Misty Williams and Dawn Massey v. John Opie, First Selectman, Town of Branford; and Docket #FIC 2004-567; Misty Williams and Dawn Massey v. John Opie, First Selectman, Town of Branford.  At the hearing in this matter, Dawn Massey, requested, and was granted, party status, with the assent of all original parties.  The case caption has been amended accordingly. 

 

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 letter dated November 1, 2004, the complainants requested that the respondent provide them with a certified copy of  “the town of Branford’s liability insurance policy in force covering the town of Branford, Barbara Neal and Michael Milici – including the declaration pages in force…” [hereinafter “the requested record”].

 

3.  It is found that, by letter dated November 4, 2004, the respondent acknowledged receipt of the request described in paragraph 2, above, and informed the complainants that he would search for the requested record. 

 

4.  By letter dated November 29, 2004, and filed with the Commission on December 1, 2004, the complainants alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information [hereinafter “FOI”] Act by denying them a copy of the requested record.  The complainants requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondent.  

 

5.   On May 24, 2005, the respondent moved to impose a civil penalty against the complainants. 

 

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…inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours…or… 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 letter dated February 8, 2005, the respondent informed the complainants that the requested record consisted of several hundred pages and suggested that they schedule a mutually convenient time to review the records before the respondent copied all of the pages. 

 

9.  It is found that the parties scheduled a mutually convenient time for the review described in paragraph 8, above, and that such review took place on either February 18, 2005, or February 24, 2005.  It is found that, at the time of such review, a portion of the requested records was missing from its binder.

 

10.  It is found that the missing portion of the requested records was available for review on April 5, 2005. 

 

11.  It is found that, by letter dated May 16, 2005, the complainants streamlined the request described in paragraph 2, above, to request certified copies of the declaration pages for fiscal year 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, only.

 

12.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainants testified that they no longer wished a certified copy of the entire liability insurance policy, but rather only the certified copies described in paragraph 11, above.

 

13.  At the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainants with the certified copies described in paragraph 11, above.

 

14.  It is concluded that the respondent violated the promptness provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., based on the facts and circumstances of this case. 

 

15.  The Commission declines to consider imposing a civil penalty against the respondent at this time. 

 

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

 

1.  Henceforth, the respondent shall comply with the promptness provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S. 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 9, 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

 

John Opie, First Selectman,

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/2004-543FD/paj/11/14/2005