FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Virginia E. Carmany,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-666

Edward Ward, Chairman, Water

Pollution Control Authority, Town

of Chester; Pat Bisacky, Tom Englert,

Arthur Henick, and John King, as

Members, Water Pollution Control

Authority, Town of Chester; Water

Pollution Control Authority, Town of

Chester; and Thomas Marsh, First

Selectman, Town of Chester,

 
  Respondents October 10, 2007
       

                                                                                                           

          The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 14, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2006-667; Virginia E. Carmany v. Edward Ward, Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; Pat Bisacky, Tom Englert, Arthur Henick and John King, as members, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; and Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; and Docket #FIC 2006-668; Virginia E. Carmany v. Edward Ward, Chairman, Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester; and Water Pollution Control Authority, Town of Chester.

 

 

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 the respondent authority held a special meeting on November 2, 2006, and that, during such meeting, a representative of an engineering firm hired by the town of Chester (hereinafter “the engineer”) presented an interactive display for the benefit of the public, and that, during such presentation, the engineer entered alternative figures into a computer program to see the affect on costs and other aspects of a proposed sewer project which was the subject of the meeting (hereinafter “the spreadsheets”).

 

3.  It is found that, by e-mail dated November 28, 2006, the complainant requested that the respondent chairman print the spreadsheets in paper form and provide her with copies thereof.

 

4.  It is found that, by return e-mail dated November 28, 2006, the respondent chairman acknowledged receipt of the request described in paragraph 3, above, and informed the complainant that he would begin complying with such request. 

 

5.  It is found that, in response to the request described in paragraph 3, above, the respondents contacted the engineer to obtain printouts of the spreadsheets.  It is found that the engineer provided the respondents with a printout of the spreadsheet, and that the respondents promptly provided such printout to the complainant.

 

6.  By e-mail dated December 13, 2006, and filed with the Commission on December 14, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act, by not fully complying with the request described in paragraph 3, above.  The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties against the respondents.  

 

7.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., states, 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. 

 

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

 

9.  It is found that the respondents do not keep on file or maintain the spreadsheets, within the meaning of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

10.  It is found that the engineer did not save the various scenarios demonstrated during his presentation on November 2, 2006.  Rather, it is found that the engineer simply entered numbers into the program for demonstration purposes only, without recording such numbers.  It is further found that the respondents did not request that the engineer prepare the interactive presentation made on November 2, 2006, nor do the respondents have a right under the contract with the engineer to receive a copy of the engineer’s computer program.  It is further found that the respondents took no action with respect to any of the spreadsheet scenarios presented at the November 2, 2006, meeting during such meeting.  

 

11.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant contended that the printout provided, as described in paragraph 5, above, is incomplete and missing numbers.  However, it is found that such printout is the only responsive record which the engineer maintains. 

 

12.  Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondents 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 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:

 

Virginia E. Carmany

c/o Keith R. Ainsworth, Esq.

Evans, Feldman & Boyer, LLC

261 Bradley Street

New Haven, CT 06507-1694

 

Edward Ward, Chairman, Water

Pollution Control Authority, Town

of Chester; Pat Bisacky, Tom Englert,

Arthur Henick, and John King, as

Members, Water Pollution Control

Authority, Town of Chester; Water

Pollution Control Authority, Town of

Chester; and Thomas Marsh, First

Selectman, Town of Chester

c/o John S. Bennet, Esq.

Gould, Larson, Bennet, Wells & McDonnell, PC

35 Plains Road

PO Box 959

Essex, CT 06426

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2006-666FD/paj/10/17/2007