Final Decision FIC2013-358
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2013-358|
Executive Director, Housing Authority,
Town of West Hartford; and Housing
Authority, Town of West Hartford,
February 26, 2014
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 7, 2013, at which time the complainant 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. It is found that on June 11, 2013, the complainant requested copies of:
a. a certain “approved request for tenancy on or around December 2012;”
b. a certain “withdrawn intent to move;” and
c. any records pertaining to a certain Housing Assistance Payment for January 2013.
3. By letter filed June 12, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide her with the records she requested.
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, . . .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:
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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
6. Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part: “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
7. It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
8. It is found that on September 26, 2013, the respondents provided copies of records that are responsive to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2.a and 2.b, above.
9. The respondents explained that the more than three month delay in providing records to the complainant was due to concerns about confidentiality. It is found, however, that such concerns could have easily been resolved in a more timely manner.
10. It is found, therefore, that the respondents failed to promptly provide the records to the complaint.
11. Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide copies of the records described in paragraph 2.a and 2.b, above, in a prompt manner.
12. With respect to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2.c, above, it is found that the respondents submitted evidence that they do not maintain any records responsive to such request. The complainant, however, insisted that the respondents do maintain electronic records pertaining to the Housing Assistance Payment for January 2013 paid to the complainant on behalf of a certain tenant.
13. It is found that housing vouchers in the Section 8 housing at issue in this matter are federally funded and administered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services and a third party administrator, J.D’Amelia & Associates, LLC. (“JDA”). It is found that the respondents contract with JDA to operate the voucher program. It is found that JDA directs the respondents when and whether to release payment to the landlord, and the respondents issue a check to the landlord upon direction by JDA.
14. It is found that the respondents provided no payment to the complainant in January 2013, and therefore have no record of such payment. It is found that the respondents subsequently provided payment in February 2013 or later for the rental period of January 2013, but the only record of such payment is the electronic issuance of the check, which the complainant does not dispute that she received.
15. It is found that the respondents maintain no other records responsive to the complainant’s request for copies of records pertaining to a certain HAP for January 2013.
16. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by providing no records in response to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2.c, above.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Henceforth, the respondents shall comply with the promptness provisions of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 26, 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:
19 Salisbury Street
Hartford, CT 06112
Executive Director, Housing Authority, Town of West Hartford;
and Housing Authority, Town of West Hartford
c/o Barbara S. McGrath, Esq.
Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative, Inc.
35 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission