FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Enrique J. Alvarez,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-076

Town Planner, Town of Suffield;

Zoning Enforcement Officer, Town

of Suffield; and Heritage Committee,

Town of Suffield,

 
  Respondents January 10, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 17, 2006, 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.   It is found that, by letter dated January 21, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent town planner (hereinafter “the respondent planner”) for a copy of the following records:

 

a.  “all correspondence, including but not limited to handwritten notes, memos, faxes, or oral memory, telephone messages or logs and conversations made whether by U.S. mail, electronic, or other venues with regard to 35, 53, 76, 115, 123, 133, 157, and 161 Mountain Road, Suffield, CT 06078 as they might relate to signage on the State Right of Way known as Mountain Road/Route 168”;

 

b.  “all telephone records of any and all telephone calls made between August 1st of 2004 and January 31, of 2005 from your office (any extension) to the following telephone numbers for the State of Connecticut: 860-585-2788; 860-585-2793; 860-585-2794; 860-585-2800”; and

 

c.  “any correspondence, including but not limited to handwritten notes, memos, faxes or oral memory, telephone messages or logs and conversations made whether by U.S. mail, electronic, or other venues with regard to James Taylor, Zoning Enforcement Officer, as well as Patrick McMahon…and any information you might possess from former First Selectwoman Elaine Sarsynski….as they pertain to [the complainant].”

 

3.  It is found that, by letter dated January 21, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent zoning enforcement officer (hereinafter the “the respondent ZEO”) for a copy of the following records: 

 

a.  “all correspondence, including but not limited to handwritten notes, memos, faxes or oral memory, telephone messages or logs and conversations made whether by U.S. mail, electronic, or other venues with regard to 35, 53, 76, 115, 123, 133, 157, and 161 Mountain Road, Suffield, CT  06078 as they might relate to signage on the State Right of Way known as Mountain Road/Route 168”;

 

b.  “all telephone records of any and all telephone calls made between August 1st of 2004 and January 31, of 2005 from your office (any extension) to the following telephone numbers for the State of Connecticut: 860-585-2788; 860-585-2793; 860-585-2794; 860-585-2800”; and

 

c.  “any correspondence, including but not limited to handwritten notes, memos, faxes or oral memory, telephone messages or logs and conversations made whether by U.S. mail, electronic, or other venues with regard to Philip Chester, Town Planner, as well as Patrick McMahon…and any information you might possess from former First Selectwoman Elaine Sarsynski….as they pertain to [the complainant].”

 

4.  It is found that, by letter dated January 30, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent Heritage Committee (hereinafter “the respondent committee”) for a copy of the following records:

 

a.  “all correspondence, including but not limited to handwritten notes, tape recordings, memo’s [sic], faxes, any and all written material, taped material, recorded material information made whether by U.S. mail, electronic (e-mails), or other venues with regard to 178 Mountain Road, Enrique (Rick) Alvarez and/or (The) Retirement Doctor”;

 

b.  the list of attendance of members for each and every meeting between [June 1, 2002 and January 30, 2006]”; and

 

c.  “all correspondence, included [sic] but not limited to handwritten notes, tape recordings, memo’s [sic], faxes,  and any and all written material, taped material, recorded material information made whether by U.S. mail, electronic (e-mails), or other venues with regard to 178 Mountain Road, Enrique (Rick) Alvarez and/or (The) Retirement Doctor between [the Heritage Committee], individual committee members, and any and all agents of [the town] and any and all Departments of the State of Connecticut ant [sic] it’s [sic] agents.”

 

5.  By letter dated February 21, 2006 and filed on February 23, 2006, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the requests described in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4, above.

 

6.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part 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. . . receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212….” 

 

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

 

            8.  It is found that, to the extent that the respondents keep on file or maintain the records described in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4, above, such records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

9.  With respect to the request described in paragraph 2, above, it is found that the respondent planner received the complainant’s request dated January 21, 2006, and conducted a diligent and good faith search of his files for the requested records.

 

10.  It is found that the respondent planner does not have any records in his files responsive to the requests described in paragraphs 2.a and 2.c above.[1]  It is further found that the respondent planner does not keep on file or maintain the records described in paragraph 2.b.[2]

 

11.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent planner did not violate the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) or 1-212(a), G.S. by failing to provide the complainant with a copy of the requested records, as alleged in the complaint. 

 

12.  With respect to the request described in paragraph 3, above, it is found that the respondent ZEO received the complainant’s request dated January 21, 2006, and conducted a diligent and good faith search of his files for the requested records.

 

13.  It is found that the respondent ZEO does not have any records in his files responsive to the requests described in paragraphs 3.a and 3.c above.[3]  It is further found that the respondent ZEO does not keep on file or maintain the records described in paragraph 3.b.[4]

 

14.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent ZEO did not violate the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) or 1-212(a), G.S. by failing to provide the complainant with a copy of the requested records, as alleged in the complaint. 

 

15.  It is found that the respondent committee received the complainant’s request, as described in paragraph 4, above, and conducted a diligent and good faith search of its files for the requested records. 

 

16.  It is found that the respondent committee does not have any records in its files responsive to the requests described in paragraphs 4.a and 4.c above.  With respect to the attendance records described in paragraph 4.b, the complainant acknowledged at the hearing in this matter that he received such records and that such records are therefore no longer at issue herein.

 

17.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent committee did not violate the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) or 1-212(a), G.S.

 

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 January 10, 2007.

 

________________________________

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:

 

Enrique J. Alvarez

PO Box 665

178 Mountain Road

Suffield, CT 06078

 

Town Planner, Town of Suffield;

Zoning Enforcement Officer, Town

of Suffield; and Heritage Committee,

Town of Suffield

c/o Edward G. McAnaney, Esq.

Suffield Village

Suffield, CT 06078

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-076FD/paj/1/12/2007

 

 



[1] Although the respondent planner, in an effort to be helpful to the complainant, provided some records to him, these records are found to be outside the scope of the requests described in paragraph 2 above.

[2] At the hearing in this matter, the complainant acknowledged that he had received copies of the requested phone records from the finance director for the Town of Suffield.

[3] Although the respondent ZEO, in an effort to be helpful to the complainant, provided some records to him, these records are found to be outside the scope of the requests described in paragraph 3 above.

[4] At the hearing in this matter, the complainant acknowledged that he had received copies of the requested phone records from the finance director for the Town of Suffield.