FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Irving N. Steiner,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2007-115

Finance Department,

City of Shelton,

 
  Respondent  July 11, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 6, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The case caption has been amended to reflect the accurate name of the respondent.

           

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, on January 29, 2007, the complainant visited the office of the respondent and orally requested to view all documentation relating to the Yutaka Trail paving project in the city of Shelton.  It is found that the complainant was told at that time that such records could not be located.

 

3.  It is found that, during a Board of Aldermen meeting on February 8, 2007, at which the complainant was present, the mayor stated that such records existed and could be obtained through the purchasing division of the respondent.  It is further found that on February 9, 2007, the complainant received a copy of the purchase order responsive to the request described in paragraph 2, above.   It is also found that the respondent maintains no other records responsive to the request described in paragraph 2, above.

 

4.  By email dated February 20, 2007, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying him a copy of the record described in paragraph 2, above, on January 29, 2007. 

 

5.  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.

 

6.  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.”

 

7.  It is found that the requested record is a public record within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

8.  It is found that, on January 29, 2007, the complainant requested the record described in paragraph 2, above, from the respondent but did not provide the name of the contractor involved or an invoice number.  It is also found that the respondent’s computer software can only search for records using the name of the contractor or the invoice number.  It is further found that the respondent conducted a diligent search for the requested record, based upon mistaken information as to the name of the contractor who performed the Yutaka Trail paving work.  

 

9.  It is found that, on January 29, 2007, when the respondent was unable to locate the requested record under the name of the contractor who was mistakenly believed to have performed the work, additional diligent efforts were made by the respondent to locate the requested record, including making telephone calls to individuals in other departments who might have such record.

 

            10.  It is found that, on February 9, 2007, when the complainant returned to the office of the respondent with the name of the contractor who, in fact, performed the Yutaka Trail paving work, a copy of such record was located and provided to him that day. 

 

11.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant acknowledged that he had received a copy of the purchase order described in paragraph 3, above, prior to filing his complaint with the Commission.  However, the complainant also stated his belief that the respondent should have additional records relating to the Yutaka Trail paving project. 

 

 12.  As found in paragraph 3, above, the respondent does not keep on file or maintain any other responsive records.  Moreover, the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the extent to which a public agency documents its construction projects, and further lacks authority to order the respondent to create records.

 

13.  It is found that the complainant requested the record described in paragraph 2, above, on January 29, 2007, and received a copy of such record on February 9, 2007.  It is found that the delay, while unfortunate, did not arise out of lack of diligence by the respondent, but rather as a result of a genuine mistake.  Based upon the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint.

 

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 July 11, 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:

 

Irving N. Steiner

23 Partridge Lane

Shelton, CT 06484

 

Finance Department,

City of Shelton

c/o Ramon S. Sous, Esq.

159 Main Street

Seymour, CT 06483-3137

 

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2007-115FD/paj/7/19/2007