FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Stephen Whitaker,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-419

Boris Hutorin, Director,

Department of Information

Technology, Town of Greenwich,

 
  Respondent August 8, 2007
       

            

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 27, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  A Report of Hearing Officer was issued on July 3, 2007.  At its regular meeting of July 25, 2007, the Commission voted to remand this matter to the Hearing Officer. 

 

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.  By letter dated August 18, 2006, and filed on August 21, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent failed to comply with the Commission’s final decisions and orders in contested cases docket #FIC 2001-546, Stephen Whitaker v. Director of Information Technology, Town of Greenwich (hereinafter “FIC 2001-546”) and FIC 2005-332, Stephen Whitaker v. Boris Hutorin, Director of Information Technology, Town of Greenwich (hereinafter “FIC 2005-332”).  The complainant requested in his complaint that the Commission consider the imposition of a civil penalty in this matter.

 

3.  The Commission takes administrative notice of the records and final decisions

in FIC 2001-546; Stephen Whitaker v. Director, Department of Information Technology, Town of Greenwich (Nov. 13, 2002) and FIC 2005-332; Stephen Whitaker v. Boris Hutorin, Director of Information Technology, Town of Greenwich (June 28, 2006).

 

            4.  The orders in FIC 2001-546, stated:

 

1.  Forthwith, the respondent shall provide the complainant with copies of the requested records, as described in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the findings, above.

 

2.  In complying with paragraph 1 of the order, the respondent may redact medical information and social security numbers, if any.

 

5.  Paragraph 2 of the findings in FIC 2001-546, described the requested records as “copies of the GIS Backup tapes, specifically, orthophotography, ‘arc info coverages’, SQL server databases referenced to GIS data, and all documentation created to support coverages” requested by the complainant in a December 4, 2001, letter to the town of Greenwich.

 

6.  It is found that the orders in FIC 2001-546 did not specify the medium on which the requested records should be provided.

 

            7.  In FIC 2005-332, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the FOI Act by failing to comply with the orders in FIC 2001-546.  An evidentiary hearing was conducted in such matter on August 30, 2005.  A report of hearing officer was issued on May 1, 2006 and considered by the Commission on June 14, 2006.  At such time, the Commission remanded the matter for further proceedings.  A second evidentiary hearing was conducted on June 20, 2006.  A second report of hearing officer was issued on June 22, 2006.  The Commission adopted the final decision in FIC 2005-332 on June 28, 2006.

 

8.  The order in FIC 2005-332, stated:

 

1.  Forthwith, the respondent shall provide the complainant with a copy of the originally requested records, meaning those records that the respondent kept on file or maintained as of December 4, 2001, in external hard-drive format, at no charge.

 

9.  It is found that, following the Final Decision in FIC 2005-332 by letter dated July 25, 2006, the respondent informed the complainant that the materials referenced in paragraph 8, above, were “available to be picked up from the Town’s IT Department during normal business hours at no cost to” the complainant.

 

10.  It is also found that on August 2, 2006, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of GIS records in external hard-drive format, at no charge.  The respondent claimed that such GIS records were kept on file or maintained by the respondent as of December 4, 2001.

 

11.  At the February 27, 2007, hearing on this matter, the complainant claimed that the records provided by the respondent as described in paragraph 10, above, were incomplete and did not contain various portions of the following GIS information:

 

a)      Directories containing ‘arc info coverages’ updated through December 4, 2001;

 

b)      SQL server databases referenced to GIS data; and

 

c)      Documentation and narratives created to support coverages.

 

12.  The Final Decision in FIC 2005-332 was not appealed and stands as the final adjudication of the allegation that the respondent did not comply with the orders in FIC 2001-546.  Therefore, the issue before the Commission is whether the respondent failed to comply with the Commission’s Order in FIC 2005-332.

 

13.  With respect to the complainant’s claim described in paragraph 11a, above, as it pertains to directories containing ‘arc info coverages’ updated through December 4, 2001, it is found that the Commission’s order was meant to ensure that all existing GIS records that are relevant and responsive to the complainant’s original records request in FIC 2001-546, would be provided to the complainant in external hard-drive format, at no charge.

 

14.  It is found that all relevant directories containing ‘arc info coverages’ relating to the complainant’s request in FIC 2001-546, and the orders issued by the Commission, have been produced in external hard-drive format, at no charge.  The respondent further explained in detail that while GIS directories containing ‘arc info coverages’ were delivered to the respondent by its GIS vendor prior to the complainant’s original requests in FIC 2001-546, such GIS directories containing coverages in the arc info GIS file format, were never updated after June of 2000, and consequently, were converted to the “shape file” GIS file format as a matter of convenience for purposes of file storage and manageability.

 

15.  It is therefore found that on August 2, 2006, the respondent provided the complainant with all GIS directories containing ‘arc info coverages’ updated through December 4, 2001, which were kept on file or maintained by the respondent as of December 4, 2001, in external hard-drive format, at no charge.  However, based upon the facts and circumstances of this case, it is also found that the shape files described in paragraph 14, above, are within the scope of the request described in paragraph 11a, above, and that such records should have been provided to the complainant, in keeping with the order of the Commission in FIC2005-332. 

 

16.  Consequently, it is concluded that, with respect to the complainant’s claim described in paragraph 11a, above, the respondent violated the Commission’s order in FIC 2005-332.

 

17.  With respect to the complainant’s claim described in paragraph 11b, above, as it pertains to SQL server databases referenced to GIS data, the complainant contends that the respondent should have such GIS records.

 

18.  However, it is found that, on December 4, 2001, the time of the request at issue, the SQL GIS database was not linked to the SQL Street Name database, despite the complainant’s assumption to the contrary.  Rather, at such time, the SQL Street Name database was a separate database created by the Greenwich tax assessor’s office and unaffiliated with the SQL GIS database at issue.  Accordingly, the records described in paragraph 11b, above, never existed.  However, the Commission notes that, prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with the SQL GIS database as well as the SQL Street Name database for the time period in question.  Moreover, at the hearing in this matter, the respondent informed the Commission and the complainant that the SQL GIS database and the SQL Street Name server database are now linked and available to the public.

 

19.  Therefore, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the Commission’s order in FIC 2005-332 when he failed to provide the complainant with SQL server databases referenced to GIS data, described in paragraph 11b, above. 

 

20.  With respect to the claim described in paragraph 11c, above, as it pertains to documentation created to support coverages, the Commission previously found, based on the testimony of the complainant, that the “documentation” consists of a record of when data was inputted, what source was used, who input the data, how accurate the data is, and how often it is updated.  See Final Decision, FIC2005-546, paragraph 3 of the findings.  As such, the terms documentation and narratives, as used by the complainant and as considered by the Commission, are terms of art used in the computer industry. 

 

21. It is found that while the complainant takes issue with the contents of the hard-drive provided to him by the respondent as described in paragraph 10, above, no other files containing documentation and narratives exist electronically that were not provided to the complainant in response to the Commission’s order. 

 

22.  At the hearing, the respondent testified that the additional documentation and narratives sought by the complainant were never provided to the respondent electronically from the respondent’s GIS vendor.  However, the respondent did explain, and the complainant acknowledged, that such documentation and narratives were available for inspection and copying in paper form, which is the only form in which the respondent maintains or ever maintained such records, and that the complainant had copied such records prior to the hearing in this matter.

 

23.  Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is therefore concluded that with respect to the complainant’s claim in paragraph 11c, above, the respondent did not violate the Commission’s order in FIC 2005-332. 

 

24.  The Commission declines to consider the imposition of a civil penalty in this matter.

 

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

 

            1.  Forthwith, the respondent shall provide the complainant with the shape files described in paragraph 14 of the findings, above, for the period July 1, 2000 to December 4, 2001, in external hard drive format, at no charge. 

 

                                                                                      

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 8, 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:

 

Stephen Whitaker

15 East Putnam Avenue, Suite 311

Greenwich, CT 06830

 

Boris Hutorin, Director,

Department of Information

Technology, Town of Greenwich

c/o Valerie Maze Keeney, Esq. and

John Wayne Fox, Esq.

Town of Greenwich

Law Department

101 Field Point Road

 PO Box 2540

Greenwich, CT 06836-2540

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2006-419FD/paj/8/13/2007