FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Robert J. Symmes,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket # FIC 2008-564
Charles Marino, Democratic Registrar of
Voters, City of West Haven,
 
  Respondent March 25, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 11, 2008, at which time the complainant and 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, by letter dated July 22, 2008, the complainant made a request to the respondent for “a copy of the electronic voter file maintained by [his] office in accordance with the provisions of 9-50b(d), G.S., specifically for each election and primary held since July 5, 2007.”

 

3.      It is found that, by letter dated July 23, 2008, the respondent acknowledged the complainant’s request for a copy of the record, described in paragraph 2, above, and informed him that the requested record would be available within thirty days.

 

4.      It is also found that, by letter dated August 13, 2008, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with “the voting machine tape results for the August 12th primary.”

 

5.      It is found that, by letter dated August 15, 2008, the respondent acknowledged the complainant’s request for copies of the records, described in paragraph 4, above, but no records were provided at that time. 

 

6.      By letter dated August 27, 2008, and filed on August 28, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with a copy of the record, described in paragraph 2, above. 

 

7.      By letter dated and filed on August 29, 2008, the complainant filed an addendum to the complaint, described in paragraph 6, above, alleging that the respondent violated the FOI Act by denying him copies of the records, described in paragraph 4, above. 

 

8.      At the hearing in this matter, the complainant stated that the records and complaint addendum, described in paragraphs 4 and 7, above, are no longer at issue in this matter.  Accordingly, only the record and complaint, described in paragraphs 2 and 6, above, will be addressed herein.  

 

9.      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.

 

10.  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.

 

11.  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.”

 

12.  At the hearing, the complainant and the respondent acknowledged that the record, described in paragraph 2, above, did not exist at the time of the request, described in paragraph 2, above.

 

13.  Accordingly, it is found that, at the time of the complainant’s request, described in paragraph 2, above, the respondent did not maintain or keep on file copies of the requested record.

 

14.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent did not violate the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S, as alleged in the complaint, with respect to the request described in paragraph 2, above.

 

 

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 March 25, 2009.

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

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:

 

Robert J. Symmes 

285 Second Avenue

West Haven, CT 06516

 

Charles Marino,

Democratic Registrar of Voters,

City of West Haven 

C/o Henry C. Szadkowski, Esq.

Assistant Corporation Counsel

City of West Haven

355 Main Street

West Haven, CT 06516

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-564FD/sw/3/26/2009