FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Bradshaw Smith,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-076
Steven Kosofsky, Assessor, Town of
Windsor,
 
  Respondent September 23, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 23, 2009, 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.  By letter dated February 11, 2009 and filed with the Commission on February 13, 2009, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act by failing to provide the complainant with the records described in paragraph 3, below.  The complainant requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondent.

 

3.  It is found that by letter dated February 2, 2009, the complainant requested an electronic copy of the current grand list including information about “motor vehicle and real estate.”  The complainant subsequently clarified such request to also include personal property (hereinafter the “requested records”).  The complainant asked that the requested records be provided on an enclosed compact disc (hereinafter “CD”).

 

4.  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.

 

5.  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…receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.

 

            6.  Section 1-211(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

Any public agency which maintains public records in a computer storage system shall provide, to any person making a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, a copy of any nonexempt data contained in such records, properly identified, on paper, disk, tape or any other electronic storage device or medium requested by the person, if the agency can reasonably make such copy or have such copy made.  Except as otherwise provided by state statute, the cost for providing a copy of such data shall be in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.

 

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

 

8.  It is found that to the extent the respondent maintains the requested records, such records are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), 1-211(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

9.  It is found that on April 1, 2009 the respondent provided the complainant with the 2008 real estate and motor vehicle grand lists on CD.  It is also found that, enclosed with a letter dated April 30, 2009, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the 2008 personal property grand list on CD. 

 

10.  At the hearing on this matter, the complainant contended that for over two months the respondent failed to provide a response to his request described in paragraph 3, above.  The complainant consequently contended that the respondent did not promptly comply with such request.  The complainant further reiterated that his original February 2, 2009 request included the 2008 personal property grand list.

 

11.  The respondent acknowledged that he did not respond to the complainant’s request until April 2009.  The respondent claimed that the cause of the delay in providing the requested records to the complainant was due to technical problems with the software vendor responsible for electronically preparing the respondent’s grand list.

 

12.  It is found that the respondent’s provision of the requested records over two months after it was requested was not prompt within the meaning of 1-212(a), G.S.

 

13.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-212(a), G.S., when he failed to promptly provide the complainant with electronic copies of the requested records.

 

14.  Under the facts and circumstances of this case, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of civil penalties against the respondent.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1.  Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the promptness provision of 1-212(a), G.S.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 23, 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:

 

Bradshaw Smith

23 Ludlow Road

Windsor, CT 06095

 

Steven Kosofsky, Assessor, Town of Windsor

C/o Vincent W. Oswecki, Jr., Esq.

O’Malley, Deneen, Leary, Messina & Oswecki

20 Maple Avenue

Windsor, CT 06095

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-076FD/sw/9/25/2009