FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket # FIC 2008-194|
Anthony DaRos, First Selectman,
Town of Branford; and Board
of Selectmen, Town of Branford,
|Respondents||January 29, 2009|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 22, 2008, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, the above captioned matter was consolidated with Docket # FIC 2008-078, Dawn Massey v. Anthony DaRos, First Selectman, Town of Branford; Gale Plancon, Interim Assistant Administrator, Board of Selectmen, Town of Branford; and Board of Selectmen, Town of Branford; Docket # FIC 2008-081, Dawn Massey v. Anthony DaRos, First Selectman, Town of Branford; Gale Plancon, Interim Assistant Administrator, Board of Selectmen, Town of Branford; and Board of Selectmen, Town of Branford; and Docket # FIC 2008-193, Dawn Massey v. Anthony DaRos, First Selectman, Town of Branford; and Board of Selectmen, Town of Branford.
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, by letter dated February 21, 2008, the complainant made a request to the respondents for “plain (i.e., uncertified) but complete copies of all employment applications of Jill Wood.”
3. It is found that, by letter dated February 26, 2008, the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s request for copies of the records, described in paragraph 2, above, but did not provide copies of such records at that time.
4. By letter dated and filed on March 20, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide her with copies of the records, described in paragraph 2, above.
5. It is found that, on April 24, 2008, the complainant received a copy of an employment application for Jill Wood, dated August 25, 2003, from the respondents, which was responsive to the request for records, described in paragraph 2, above.
6. Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records or files” as:
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.
7. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
8. Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “any 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 maintain the record, described in paragraph 2, above, and that such record is a public record and must be disclosed in accordance with §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless it is exempt from disclosure.
10. It is found that, between November 2007 and March 2008, the complainant submitted multiple requests for records. In addition, it is found that, at the time of the request for records, described in paragraph 2, above, the respondents were experiencing staffing shortages.
11. It is found that the respondents’ provision of the requested record, described in paragraphs 2 and 5, above, two months after it was requested, was not prompt within the meaning of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
12. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide to the complainant a copy of the requested record, described in paragraph 2, above.
13. Notwithstanding the conclusion in paragraph 12, above, and due to the facts and circumstances of this case, 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. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness provisions of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 29, 2009.
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:
c/o Misty Williams
225 Stony Creek Road
Branford, CT 06405
Anthony DaRos, First Selectman, Town of Branford; and Board of Selectmen, Town
c/o William H. Clendenen, Jr., Esq.
Clendenen & Shea, LLC
400 Orange Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Acting Clerk of the Commission