FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Bill Saunders,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-735
Office of Corporation Counsel; City of
New Haven; and City of New Haven,
 
  Respondents June 9, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 15, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that on November 16, 2009, the complainant requested “a full disclosure of ALL disbursements associated with the READ Mural Project.”

 

3.      It is found that on November 17, 2009, a member of the respondent Office of Corporation Counsel informed the complainant that he had located a one-page agreement concerning the mural and that he was searching for copies of canceled checks and any receipts related to the project. 

 

4.      It is found that the respondents provided a copy of the one-page agreement to the complainant on November 18, 2009.

 

5.      It is found that by e-mail sent on November 19, 2009, the complainant requested “paperwork dealing with the contractual responsibilities for this project[.]”

 

6.      By e-mail filed on December 3, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide all the records responsive to the complainant’s requests, described in paragraphs 2 and 5, above. 

 

7.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:

 

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, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

8.      Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, 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 inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.

 

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

 

10.   It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

11.   It is found that on December 3, 2009, the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of three canceled checks related to the mural project.

 

12.   It is found that, upon further inquiry by the complainant, the respondents informed the complainant on January 7, 2010, that they maintained no additional records responsive to his requests. 

 

13.   It is found that the mural project was originally undertaken by a student of Yale University, with minimal oversight and aid by the respondents.  It is further found that upon the student’s graduation, the respondents contracted with a local artist and others to complete the mural.  It is found that local businesses donated some goods and services, such as pizza for students working on the mural, toward completion of the project.  It is found that the respondents do not maintain records for receipt of such goods and services, other than a receipt from Home Depot for under $100.  It is found that such receipt was provided to the complainant upon its discovery shortly before the hearing in this matter.

 

14.   It is found that the respondents, including staff of the Office of Corporation Counsel and of the Department of Cultural Affairs, searched diligently and repeatedly for records to satisfy the complainant’s requests.

 

15.   Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act in responding to the complainant’s request for copies of records, described in paragraphs 2 and 5, 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 dismissed.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 9, 2010.

 

 

____________________________

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:

 

Bill Saunders

512 George Street

New Haven, CT 06511

 

Office of Corporation Counsel; City of New Haven; and City of New Haven

c/o Kathleen M. Foster, Esq.

Office of the Corporation Counsel

165 Church Street

New Haven, CT 06510

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2009-735FD/paj/6/16/2010