FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Frederick Hesse,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2007-032

First Selectman,

Town of Brookfield,

 
  Respondent November 14, 2007
       

  

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 1, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, during October of 2006, the complainant placed telephone calls to the office of the respondent and left messages requesting that the respondent return such calls and indicating that the calls regarded a request for information.  It is also found that, during a selectmen’s meeting on November 6, 2006, the complainant asked the respondent why he hadn’t returned such telephone calls and requested “information” on municipal building air system cleaning and maintenance policies and procedures, and the name of the manager responsible for the air system.  It is further found that the respondent did not reply to such inquiries during the meeting.   

 

3.  It is found that, by e-mail dated November 17, 2006, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with the opportunity to review:

 

“all information on the municipal buildings’ air system including all filters, ducts, vents, window units, all HVAC equipment cleaning and maintenance policies, procedures, work orders and invoices, and the names of the manager responsible for the air systems and equipment, and any HVAC or other certification or licenses they may hold per the State of Connecticut” for calendar years 2005 and 2006.”  

 

4.  It is found that, on November 17, 2006, the respondent forwarded the request described in paragraph 3, above, to the director of public works (hereinafter “the director”), who maintained records responsive to such request, and instructed the director to comply with the complainant’s request. 

 

5.  It is found that, by letter to the complainant dated November 21, 2006, the respondent acknowledged the request described in paragraph 3, above, and informed the complainant that the town was in the process of compiling the requested records. 

 

6.  It is found that there are several municipal buildings in Brookfield, and that the director began and completed the task of assembling all records responsive to the request described in paragraph 3, above, which are maintained by town of Brookfield.  It is further found that, after several failed attempts to reach the complainant by telephone, the director asked the respondent’s secretary to e-mail the complainant and inform him that the requested records were available for his review at the town’s Department of Public Works. 

 

7.  It is found that, by e-mail dated December 8, 2006, the respondent’s secretary informed the complainant that the requested records were available for him at the Department of Public Works.

 

8.  It is found that, although the requested records were available on December 8, 2006, the complainant did not review such records until January 4, 2007.  It is also found that, at such time, the complainant requested and received copies of certain of the requested records.  

 

9.  By e-mail dated January 7, 2007, and filed with the Commission on January 10, 2007, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act, by not promptly providing records pursuant to his November 17, 2006, request, and by providing records that were incomplete.   

 

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

 

(a)  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. 

 

11.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

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

 

12.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant testified that he did not believe the director was in violation of the FOI Act and that he believed the director promptly complied with the request once the respondent forwarded it to him.  Rather, the complainant contended that the respondent’s failure to return the telephone calls described in paragraph 2, above, and the respondent’s failure to comply with his request for information during the meeting described in paragraph 2, above, violated the FOI Act.    

 

13.  There are several problems with the complainant’s contentions as described in paragraph 12, above.  First, the complaint in this matter was filed more than thirty days after the October telephone calls and the November 6, 2006, meeting, described in paragraph 2, above.  Second, the complaint described in paragraph 9, above, was based on the November 17, 2006, request described in paragraph 3, above.  Third, there is no requirement in the FOI Act to return telephone calls.  Fourth, it is not clear from the record whether the complainant asked a question of the respondent or whether the complainant made a request to review or receive copies of public records during the November 6, 2006 selectman’s meeting. 

 

14.  It is found that, upon receipt of the November 17, 2006 request described in paragraph 3, above, the respondent promptly directed the director to fully comply with such request, and that the director promptly provided all requested records, which the respondent maintains, to the complainant. 

 

15.  Based on 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 November 14, 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:

 

Frederick Hesse

9 Windwood Road

Brookfield, CT 06804

           

First Selectman,

Town of Brookfield

c/o Francis J. Collins, Esq. and

Thomas W. Beecher, Esq.

Collins, Hannafin, Garamella,

Jaber & Tuozzolo, P.C.

148 Deer Hill Avenue

PO Box 440

Danbury, CT 06810

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2007-032FD/paj/11/16/2007