FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Kimberly Albright and

Anthony Lazzari,

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-519

Chief, Police Department,

City of Waterbury; and

Police Department,

City of Waterbury,

 
  Respondents  June 8, 2011
       

           

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 6, 2010, at which time the complainants 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.  By letter of complaint filed August 20, 2010, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with their August 6, 2010 request for public records.

 

3.   It is found that, by letter dated August 6, 2010,  the complainants jointly requested copies of certain records from the respondents, and requested that the fee for the records be waived, asserting that they were both indigent.

 

4.  It is found that the respondents, as a condition to providing a fee waiver, required both respondents to complete a financial affidavit.

 

5. It is found that the complainant Kimberly Albright had submitted such a financial affidavit, but that the complainant Anthony Lazzari refused to do so, believing that the one financial affidavit from Kimberly Albright should be sufficient, and also believing that, since he had previously received copies without charge, he should not now have to prove his indigence.

 

6.   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.

 

7.   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, (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.

 

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

 

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

           

10. Section 1-212(d)(1), G.S., provides that “[a] public agency shall waive any fee provided for in this section when: The person requesting the records is an indigent individual.”

 

11. The Commission has repeatedly held that each public agency may establish its own standard of indigence.

 

12. It is found that the respondents have a standard of indigence, and that in order to apply it they reasonably need, and may require, a financial affidavit from any requesting party.

 

13. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-212(d)(1), G.S., by requiring that both requesting parties complete and submit a financial affidavit before the respondents would consider waiving the fee for the copies.

 

 

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 8, 2011.

 

 

__________________________

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:

 

Kimberly Albright and Anthony Lazzari

132 Rock Creek Road

New Haven, CT  06515

 

Chief, Police Department, City of Waterbury; and

Police Department, City of Waterbury

c/o Gary S. Roosa, Esq.

255 East Main Street

Waterbury, CT  06702

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-519/FD/cac/6/13/2011