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Final Decision FIC2013-336
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Steven DeBow,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-336
Acting Chief Information Officer,
Metro Hartford Information Services,
and Metro Hartford Information Services,
     Respondents
March 12, 2014

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 6, 2014, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2.  It is found that, by email dated May 28, 2013, the complainant requested copies, on CD-ROM or flash drive, of the following records:
a. All email communication generated from September 4, 2010 to the present between Steven Adamowski, Jill Cutler-Hodgman and Alexandra Lombardi (formerly Deebs) containing the subjects:  Diane Georgantas, Oscar Padua and Sexual Relationship that does not include student information;
b. All email communication generated from September 4, 2010 to the present belonging to Steven Adamowski, Jill Cutler-Hodgman and Alexandra Lombardi (formerly Deebs) wherein both Diane Georgantas and Oscar Padua are mentioned at all, or referred to in a personal, work or non-work relationship;
c. All voicemail communication and text messages from Steven Adamowski, Jill Culter-Hodgman and Alexandra Lombardi (formerly Deebs) from September 4, 2010 to the present in which Dian Georgantas and Oscar Padua are mentioned that does not include student information; and
d. All email communication, letters or memos generated from Steven Adamowski, Jill Cutler-Hodgman and Alexandra Lombardi (formerly Deebs) from September 4, 2010 to the present that mentions Diane Georgantas and Oscar Padua.
     3.  It is found that, by email dated May 28, 2013, the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s request, and indicated that the records responsive to the instant request had already been compiled and forwarded to the corporation counsel’s office in connection with a previous request that the complainant had made.  See Stephen DeBow v. Acting Chief Information Officer, Metro Hartford Information Services; and Metro Hartford Information Services, Docket #FIC 2013-207 (final decision pending).
     4.  By email dated May 31, 2013 and filed June 3, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying his request for access to the records described in paragraph 2, above.
     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, (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.
     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, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
     8.  It is found that the records responsive to the request, described in paragraph 2, above, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
     9.  It is found that the request for electronic records in this case is substantially similar to a previous request for electronic records between the complainant and the same respondents.
     10. Stephen Shipman, the Director of Network Operations, appeared at the contested case hearing to testify for the respondents.
     11. It is found that the respondents do not maintain records responsive to paragraph 2.c, above.
     12. It is further found that, based on the electronic records search crafted by Mr. Shipman, the respondents conducted a broad search for all electronic records pertaining in any way to Diane Georgantas and Oscar Padua.
     13. Specifically, it is found that Mr. Shipman ran an electronic records search on all emails for the search terms “Padua” and “Georgantas.”  It is further found that, because the complainant was interested in seeking electronic records pertaining to a sexual relationship, Mr. Shipman also searched all electronic records with multiple search terms for the phrase “sexual relationship” or “an affair,” including terms that are considered to be vulgar.
     14. It is found that the instant request for electronic records described paragraphs 2.a and 2.b, above, is a subset of the complainant’s request for electronic records in Docket #FIC 2013-207.  It is further found that results of Mr. Shipman’s electronic records searches, including whether the searches have been completed and whether there are responsive records which should have been disclosed to the complainant, is the topic of a decision that will issue in Docket #FIC 2013-207.
     15. In addition, with regard to the request for electronic records described in paragraph 2.d, above, it is found that Mr. Shipman’s staff conducted a full scale text search on three file servers which contain documents for the entire Board of Education.  It is found that certain documents were retrieved as a result of the search.  It is further found that these records were turned over to the corporation counsel’s office for review.  It is further found that these text files were reviewed, but yielded no responsive records.
     16. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act with regard to the requests in paragraphs 2.c, and 2.d, above.
     17. It is further concluded that, based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is appropriate to defer to the findings of the hearing officer in Docket #FIC 2013-207 with regard to the requests in paragraphs 2.a, and 2.b, above.
     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 March 12, 2014.
__________________________
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:
Steven DeBow
234 Center Street
Manchester, CT  06040
Acting Chief Information Officer, Metro Hartford
Information Services, and Metro Hartford Information Services
c/o Cynthia Lauture, Esq.
Office of the Corporation Counsel
550 Main Street
Room 210
Hartford, CT  06103
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2013-336/FD/cac/3/12/2014