FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Thomas J. White, Legislative Services

Director, City of Bridgeport,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-644

City Clerk,

City of Bridgeport,

  Respondent August 11, 2010
       

  

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 29, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared 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 letters dated September 21, 2009, the complainant requested: 

 

(a)  “copies of any and all documents related to City Council Item 13-07…and any and all documents reflecting the disposition and current status of Item 13-07;” and

 

(b)  copies of any and all documents related to City Council Item 191-07…including any and all documents reflecting the disposition and current status of Item 191-078.”   

 

3.  It is found that, by email dated September 23, 2009, the respondent replied to the requests described in paragraph 2, above, in relevant part, as follows:

 

“I am sorry for the delay in responding to your requests.  I have been away….You are more than welcome to come to my office during our open periods and use the Laserfiche system to look up, print and/or email to your office any information you need.  This would eliminate any waiting for needed information on your end.”

 

 

4.  By letter of complaint dated October 23, 2009 and filed on October  26, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the request for records described in paragraph 2, above, and in failing to provide him with “remote access to the [respondent’s] Laserfiche system.”

 

            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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with 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 the records described in paragraph 2, above, are public records and must be disclosed in accordance with 1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure. 

 

9.  It is found that the respondent maintains a computer database, into which city records are scanned.  It is further found that a computer terminal with access to such database is available to the public during normal business hours in the office of the respondent.  It is found that this computer database is commonly referred to as the “Laserfiche system.”

 

10.  It is found that the records described in paragraph 2, above, were scanned and available to the public through the Laserfiche system on and after September 23, 2009. 

 

11.  It is found that, after the complainant received the respondent’s email, described in paragraph 3, above, he did not, at any time, attempt to use the Laserfiche system to locate and print the records, described in paragraph 2, above, nor did he inform the respondent that he did not intend to use the Laserfiche system to obtain such records and again request that she provide him copies. 

 

12.  It is found that the complainant’s position, in essence, is that he should not be required to obtain records from the respondent in the same manner as the public, because he is presently the Legislative Services Director for the Office of Legislative Services for the city of Bridgeport.   According to the complainant, he is entitled to have “remote access” to the respondent’s records from his own office.  It is found that this issue is part of an ongoing “turf war” between the complainant and the respondent.

 

            13.  It is found that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the respondent did not deny the complainant’s request to view or to copy the records described in paragraph 2, above.  It is further found that the complainant has no special rights of access to records under the FOI Act, and that any dispute the parties may have concerning the location of their database is not one the Commission has jurisdiction to adjudicate.

 

            14.  Based upon the foregoing, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.

 

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 August 11, 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:

 

Thomas J. White, Legislative Services

Director, City of Bridgeport

Office of Legislative Services

999 Broad Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

City Clerk, City of Bridgeport

c/o Edmund Schmidt, Esq.

Office of the City Attorney

999 Broad Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2009-644FD/paj/8/13/2010