FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Bradshaw Smith,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-609

Kevin Searles, Chief, Police

Department, Town of Windsor;

and Police Department, Town

of Windsor, 

 
  Respondents August 25, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 20, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket # FIC2009-610; Bradshaw Smith v. Donald Trinks, Mayor, Town of Windsor; Alan Simon, Deputy Mayor, Town of Windsor; Donald Jepsen, Minority Leader, Town Council, Town of Windsor Town; and Town of Windsor

 

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, by letter dated October 6, 2009, the complainant requested that the respondents provide the complainant with a copy of their “latest organizational chart – with names – for your agency.”  It is found that the respondents received such request on October 8, 2009. 

 

            3.  By letter of complaint dated October 13, 2009, and filed October 14, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to respond to the request described in paragraph 2, above.  The complainant requested a civil penalty against the respondent chief. 

 

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

 

            6.   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.”

 

            7.  It is concluded that, to the extent that the respondents maintain or keep on file the record described in paragraph 2, above, they must disclose such record upon request as set forth in 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless such record is exempt from mandatory disclosure.

 

            8.  It is found that, upon receiving the request described in paragraph 2, above, the respondent chief determined that the respondents did not have a record responsive to such request.  Rather, the respondents kept on file a copy of a chart, dated February 21, 2008, and headed “Proposed Changes in Decision Packages,” that lists certain positions in the police department, but which chart is inaccurate, does not contain any names, and has never been adopted.[1]

 

            9.  It is found that the respondent chief, in an effort to provide the complainant with the information he sought, sent to the complainant a copy of the respondent department’s roster, which listed, by name, rank, and badge number, each member of the department. 

 

            10.  It is found that the respondent chief sent the record described in paragraph 9, above, to the complainant under cover letter dated October 13, 2009.  It is found that such letter was not postmarked until October 19, 2009, due to the fact that the respondents’ mail must be processed at Windsor Town Hall.

 

            11.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant did not contend that the provision of the record described in paragraph 8, above, was inaccurate or incomplete.  Rather, the complainant was clear in that his only contention in this matter is that the respondents violated the promptness provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by delaying postmarking the envelope containing the record described in paragraph 9, above, for six days. 

 

            12.  Based upon the facts and circumstances of this case, it is found that the respondents do not maintain or keep on file the record described in paragraph 2, above, and that the respondents did not maintain or keep on file such record at the time of the request at issue.  It is also found that the respondents nevertheless attempted to provide the complainant with the information he sought to the best of their ability. 

 

            13.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint. 

 

            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 August 25, 2010.

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

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


Kevin Searles, Chief, Police Department, Town of Windsor;

and Police Department, Town of Windsor

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

O’Malley, Deneen, Leary, Messina & Oswecki

20 Maple Avenue

P.O. Box 504

Windsor, CT  06095

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-609/FD/cac/8/30/2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

                                                                       

 

                                   

 

 

 



[1] Such record was provided to the complainant under cover letter dated November 10, 2009.