FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Frances Cassidy,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-617

Zoning Commission,

Town of Woodbury; and

Land Use Office,

Town of Woodbury,

 
  Respondents October 10, 2007
       

            

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 5, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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.  By letter of complaint postmarked November 20, 2006 and filed November 22, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by not providing copies of public records promptly.   

 

3.  It is found that, by letter dated October 2, 2006, the complainant requested a copy of the tape recording of the respondent Zoning Commission’s September 26, 2006 meeting, and a copy of all submissions to the Zoning Commission by the applicant in application 06-ZC-6016.

 

4.  It is found that, by letter dated October 11, 2006, the complainant requested a copy of the tape recording of the respondent Zoning Commission’s October 10, 2006 meeting.

 

5.  It is found that the requested records were provided to the complainant on October 20, 2006, with the exception of the tape recording of the Zoning Commission’s


September 26, 2006 meeting, which did not exist due to an operator error with new equipment.

 

6.  At the hearing, the Commission on its own motion raised the issue of whether the complaint had been timely filed, since the complaint was postmarked November 20, 2006, the thirty-first day after it appeared that the complainant had alleged a denial of any right under the FOI Act.

 

7.  Section 1-206(b)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210 or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a public agency or denied any other right conferred by the Freedom of Information Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission.  A notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days after such denial, except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed within thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice in fact that such meeting was held.  For purposes of this subsection, such notice of appeal shall be deemed to be filed on the date it is received by said commission or on the date it is postmarked, if received more than thirty days after the date of the denial from which such appeal is taken.  [Emphasis added.]

 

8.  The complainant contends that the records provided on October 20, 2006 were not provided promptly within the meaning of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

9.  It is found that the date of the alleged denial of the complainant’s right to receive records promptly was October 20, 2006.

 

10.  The Commission takes administrative notice of the fact that the thirtieth day after October 20, 2006 was Sunday, November 19, 2006, a day on which the offices of the Commission were closed.

11.  Section 1-21j-15 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies provides:

Computation of any period of time referred to in sections 1-21j-1 to 1-21j-57, inclusive, of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies begins by first counting the day after the day on which the precipitating event occurs, and ends on the last day of the period so computed.  The last day of the period is to be included unless it is a day on which the principal office of the commission is closed, in which event the period shall run until the end of the next following business day.  If the period of time, including the intervening Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, is five (5) days or less, such Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall be excluded from the computation; otherwise such days shall be included in the computation. [Emphasis added.]

12.  It is concluded that the complaint in this matter was required to be postmarked or filed by Monday, November 20, 2006.

 

13.  It is concluded that the Commission has subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint in this matter, which was postmarked November 20, 2006.

 

14.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:

 

“Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

15.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

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. 

           

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

 

            17.  It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-205(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a)(1), G.S.

 

18.  It is found that the requested records were provided within fourteen business days of the October 2, 2006 request, and within seven business days of the October 11, 2006 request.

 

19.  It is concluded that the respondents did violate the promptness requirements of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a)(1), G.S.

 

           

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

 

            1.  Henceforth, the respondents will strictly comply with the promptness provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 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:

 

Frances Cassidy

PO Box 126

132 Main Street South

Woodbury, CT 06798-0126

 

Zoning Commission,

Town of Woodbury; and

Land Use Office,

Town of Woodbury

c/o Jennifer Sills Yoxall, Esq.

Carmody & Torrance LLP

50 Leavenworth Street

PO Box 1110

Waterbury, CT 06721-1110

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2006-617FD/paj/10/17/2007