FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Marvin Selsky,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-441

Economic Development Commission,

Town of Cromwell,

 
  Respondent May 9, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2006-462, Marvin Selsky v. First Selectman, Town of Cromwell; Docket #FIC 2006-463, Marvin Selsky v. Town Planner, Town of Cromwell; Docket #FIC 2006-464, Marvin Selsky v. Chairman, Planning and Zoning Commission, Town of Cromwell; and Docket #FIC 2006-510, Marvin Selsky v. Water Pollution Control Agency, Town of Cromwell. All five consolidated matters were heard as contested cases on December 8, 2006, and February 15, 2007, at which times the complainant and the respondent in the above captioned matter appeared 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)(A), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, by email dated August 15, 2006 and transmitted to the business email account of Mr. Craig Stevenson, the complainant made a request to the Chairman of the respondent and Mr. Stevenson for twelve categories of records concerning an application involving the “Laban property” and including relevant records of communications between various individuals (the “requested records” or the “records”). This request for the records was included as one of several attachments to another request also made on August 15, 2006 to the first selectman of Cromwell. But the complainant noted in his request to the first selectman that the request transmitted to Mr. Stevenson was only being sent to the first selectman “as information” and was “also being sent to the respective individual[s] separately”. See Docket #FIC 2006-462, Marvin Selsky v. First Selectman, Town of Cromwell.

 

3.  By email dated August 29, 2006, and filed with the Commission on August 30, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent’s failure to provide the requested records violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).

 

4.  Sections 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., state, respectively, in relevant parts:

 

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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

 

Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. 

 

5.  It is found that Mr. Craig Stevenson is a consultant providing economic development services to public agencies of Connecticut municipalities, including the respondent and the first selectman of Cromwell. Mr. Stevenson is not an employee of the Town of Cromwell.

 

6.  It is also found that Mr. Stevenson had a spam filter on his business computer, and that he may have purged the complainant’s August 15, 2006 request as part of a group of purged files. Subsequently, Mr. Stevenson made a diligent search for the complainant’s request and was not able to locate the email on his computer.

 

7.  It is also found that on or about September 13, 2006, through a conversation with the first selectman, Mr. Stevenson learned that the complainant had made requests for records to a variety of town agencies, including the request transmitted to Mr. Stevenson. The first selectman gave a copy of the request for the records to Mr. Stevenson. The first selectman also informed Mr. Stevenson, based upon consultation with the town counsel, that as a consultant providing services to the town, Mr. Stevenson was not a proper party to an FOIA request. Accordingly, Mr. Stevenson did not respond to the August 15, 2006 request at that time. 

 

8.  It is further found that Mr. Stevenson did not have actual knowledge and should not reasonably have been expected to have knowledge of the request for the records until on or about September 13, 2006.

 

9.  It is further found that the town clerk maintains most of the respondent’s records, including minutes, agendas and exhibits, and that the complainant transmitted no request for the records to her or to the chairman of the respondent.

 

10.  It is therefore concluded that no individual person affiliated with the respondent received any request for the records prior to the filing of the complaint on August 29, 2006.

 

11.  It is finally concluded, based on the facts and circumstances of this case, that the respondent did not violate the requirements of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., as alleged in the complaint, because there was no denial of the right to inspect or the right to copies before August 29, 2006.

 

            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 May 9, 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:

 

Marvin Selsky

82 Willowbrook Road

Cromwell, CT 06416

 

Economic Development Commission,

Town of Cromwell

c/o John W. Bradley, Jr., Esq. and

Jonathan J. Blake, Esq.

Rome McGuigan, P.C.

One State Street

Hartford, CT 06103-3101

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-441FD/paj/5/10/2007