In the Matter of a Request
    for Advisory Opinion





)     Advisory Opinion   #6



The League of Women Voters of Fairfield

)     December 10, 1975








On November 21, 1975, the Commission considered and agreed to respond to a request for an advisory opinion from the League of Women Voters of Fairfield, submitted in its behalf by Mrs. J. W. Ritter, Jr.


By its letter the applicant calls to the attention of the Commission the facts that follow.


From time to time public agencies receive reports or studies commissioned by them from consultants, which are then submitted to the members of the public agency but withheld from the public for varying lengths of time. Such reports may or may not be completed in whole or in part and the public agency collectively may or may not be aware of the incompleteness of the report or of defects in the report. Consequently, the applicant suggests that it may be in the public interest that such report or study be treated as a public record prior to the date on which the public agency may act officially to accept or reject the proposed findings or consider the report or study without formal acceptance or rejection.


The Commission calls to the attention of the applicant the opinion of the Appellate Session of the Superior Court noted as File #18 and reported in 32 Conn. Sup. 583, et seq., under the caption: Andrew Gold et al. v. John McDermott for the general principles to be followed in this inquiry.



A firm rule cannot be given that will arbitrarily and exclusively govern each and every case in each and every public agency for the reason that facts vary widely and it is impossible to predict the exact circumstances that will be encountered by the person seeking access or by the public agency that is withholding access.


This Commission will be guided by the principles set forth in the above‑mentioned decision of the Appellate Session of the Superior Court in considering any complaint it receives under Section 14 of Public Act 75‑342.


The Freedom of Information Commission advises you that when the final draft of a report or study is delivered to a public agency it should be treated as a public record, regardless of whether or not the board has accepted, rejected, considered, or tabled such report or study at that time.


The same principle should apply to such events as the receipt by the chief executive of a political subdivision of the state of the proposed budget of any subordinate municipal department, the filing with a public agency of a proposed decision by a hearing officer under Section 4‑179, General Statutes, and other events of a comparable nature. The Commission will consider all such matters from case to case as specific problems may be brought to its attention under Public Act 75‑342.



                                                                                            By Order of the Freedom of
                                                                                            Information Commission


                                                                                            Herbert Brucker, Chairman of
                                                                                            of the Freedom of Information

Date  ___________________



                                                                                                         Louis J. Tapogna, Clerk