FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Kimberly Albright-Lazzari and

Anthony Lazzari,

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-535

Chief, Police Department,

City of Waterbury; and

Police Department,

City of Waterbury,

 
  Respondents July 22, 2009
       

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 13, 2009, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.   This matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2008-565, Kimberly Albright-Lazzari and Anthony Lazzari v. Chief, Police Department, City of Waterbury et al.

 

            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 filed August 14, 2008, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with their July 30, 2008 request for public records.

 

3.   It is found that, by letter dated July 30, 2008, the complainants requested from the respondents the following records:

 

a.       Any and all police reports, activity logs, written statements by person(s), and all records related to our request regarding our weekly visits at the Waterbury Department of Children and Families located at 395 West Main Street, Waterbury, Connecticut

 

b.      The Waterbury Police report created by Officer Duncan when Kimberly contacted the Waterbury Police Department in regards to the Department of Children and Families not permitting the grandmother to visit her grandchildren on July 22, 2008, and the calls made by Kimberly (between 3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.).

 

4.  It is found that the respondents had not complied with the complainants’ request at the time of their complaint.

 

5.   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.

 

6.   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, (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.

 

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

 

            8.  It is concluded that the requested records, to the extent they exist, are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

           

9.  It is found that the respondents conducted a diligent search for the requested records, and mailed those of the requested records it was able to locate, but not until after it received the Order to Show Cause in this case, on or about February 25, 2009.

 

10.  The complainants contend that the records were not provided promptly within the meaning of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

11.  The respondents contend that they didn’t mail the records sooner because the complainants had made the request at the respondents’ offices, and the respondents expected the complainants to return to pick up the records, so that any delay was therefore due to the complainants failing to pick up the records when they were available.

 

12.  It is found that, by letter dated August 14, 2008, the respondents had informed the complainants, in response to some unspecified request, that the respondents would advise the complainants as to what records would be disclosed or withheld, and would provide the complainants with a further response within a reasonable time frame.

           

13.  It is therefore found that both parties could reasonably have expected the other to take some affirmative step to contact the other.

 

14.  Under the facts and circumstances of this case, it is found that any delay in providing the records was caused by misunderstanding, and that although the records were not provided promptly within the meaning of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., and the respondents technically violated those provisions, the delay was largely inadvertent.

 

 

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 July 22, 2009.

 

 

________________________________

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:

 

Kimberly Albright-Lazzari and

Anthony Lazzari

132 Rock Creek Road

New Haven, CT 06515

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of Waterbury; and

Police Department,

City of Waterbury

c/o Gary S. Roosa, Esq.

255 East Main Street

Waterbury, CT 06702

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-535FD/paj/7/27/2009