FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Diego M. Vas II,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-165

Michael Bibens, Director, Food Services Division,

State of Connecticut, Department of Correction;

Sandra Barone, Counselor Supervisor,

State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution;

Shawn Laverty, Supervisor, Food Services Division,

State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution;

and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

 
  Respondents February 9, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 7, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction.  See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.).

 

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)(A), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, by three applications all dated February 18, 2010, the complainant made three different requests to each of the three individual respondents for copies of various records.

 

3.  It is found that the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s requests for records.

 

4.  By letter dated March 5, 2010 and filed with the Commission on March 9, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents failed to provide any requested records and thereby violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The complainant further requested the imposition of civil penalties.

 

5.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., states:

 

“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.  Sections 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., state, respectively, in relevant parts:

 

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. 

 

 

Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. 

 

7.  At the hearing, following sworn testimony, the complainant stated that he did not wish to pursue the requests he had made to respondent Bibens and respondent Barone. The request to respondent Laverty remains pending for “any and all written materials Mr. Laverty relied upon to deny requestor [the complainant] employment at the MacDougall, C.I. kitchen”.

 

8.  It is found that, by memorandum dated June 14, 2010, Andrea Baker of the respondent Department of Correction informed the complainant that she had spoken with respondent Laverty concerning the complainant’s request and that respondent Laverty told her that “there is no written correspondence from him regarding denied employment at MacDougall C.I.’s kitchen.” 

 

9.  Also at the hearing, Andrea Baker of the respondent Department of Correction testified that she met with respondent Laverty personally and respondent Laverty informed her that he did not have any written materials that he relied upon to deny the complainant employment in the kitchen at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution.

 

10.  Ms. Baker described the structured process that is used to allocate 420 work assignments among approximately 5,000 inmates at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. She indicated that distinctions are made between job eligibility and job suitability. Based upon matters such as medical clearances, not all inmates are suitable for work assignments in the kitchen. Moreover, the complainant was assigned another employment assignment.

 

11.  Based on the findings at paragraphs 8 through 10, it is concluded that the respondents do not maintain any records specific to the complainant that were relied upon to deny him employment in the kitchen at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution.

 

12.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide records promptly.

 

13.  In light of the conclusion at paragraph 12, the request for civil penalties need not be adjudicated.   

 

            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 February 9, 2011.

 

 

____________________________

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:

 

Diego M. Vas II, #218580

MacDougall-Walker C I

1153 East Street South

Suffield, CT 06080


Michael Bibens, Director, Food Services Division,

State of Connecticut, Department of Correction;

Sandra Barone, Counselor Supervisor,

State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution;

Shawn Laverty, Supervisor, Food Services Division,

State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution;

and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction

C/o Nancy B. Canney, Esq.

Department of Correction

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT 06109

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2010-165FD/sw/2/14/2011