Final Decision FIC2014-043
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2014-043|
Chairman, Police Commission,
Town of Clinton; Police
Commission, Town of Clinton;
and Town of Clinton,
November 19, 2014
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 18, 2014, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The case was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2014-278, Seth Wolfe v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Clinton et al.
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 January 12, 2014, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide copies of public records concerning alleged harassment of the complainant by the Clinton Police Department.
3. It is found that the complainant made a request to the respondent Chairman on January 7, 2014 for copies of:
All emails by Edward O’Connor to ANY member of the Clinton Police Department, First Selectman of Clinton, Connecticut, William Fritz, Kimberly Ann Neri-Simoncini, Philip C. Sengle, Peggy A. Adler and Louis H. Russo.
Emails should be from 01/02/2014 to 01/07/2014, information should include Clinton police fraud, larceny, obstruction of justice, falsifying evidence and harassment. Also to be included is any information regarding Seth Wolfe and the filing of complaints regarding these issues and the commission’s part in this matter.
Records of ALL phone calls by Edward O’Connor on any phone available to him during 01/02/2014 to 01/07/2014 to ANY member of the Clinton police department (both at the department or cell phones), First Selectman William Fritz, Kimberly Ann Neri-Simoncini, Philip C. Sengle, Peggy A. Adler and Louis H. Russo. Phone calls should include any work, home, or cell phones as the Clinton, CT Board of Police Commissioners has no direct through the town system. Phone calls should be from 01/02/2014 to 01/07/2014.
4. It is found that the respondents on February 11, 2014 provided copies of certain emails by Edward O’Connor to the individuals named by the complainant.
5. It is found that the emails provided to the complainant acknowledge the fact of the complainant’s request, and the complainant’s underlying allegation that the Town of Clinton had conducted a biased and prejudicial investigation of the complainant’s complaint to the Police Commission.
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:
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 in relevant part: “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
9. It is concluded that the records provided to the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
10. The complainant maintains that additional responsive records exist.
11. It is found that the complainant believes that he is being harassed by the Clinton Police Department.
12. It is found that the complainant has an ongoing personal dispute with an officer in the Clinton Police Department, who is currently married to the mother of the complainant’s child.
13. It is found that the complainant brought a complaint to the respondent Police Commission and its chairman, alleging among other things, falsification of time cards, and that the respondents declined to take any action.
14. It is found that the records sought by the complainant would be records of an investigation that did not in fact occur.
15. It is found that there is no reason to believe that additional records exist, and that the respondents provided all records responsive to the complainant’s request.
16. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.
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 November 19, 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:
144 East Main Street
Clinton, CT 06413
Chairman, Police Commission, Town of Clinton; Police
Commission, Town of Clinton; and Town of Clinton
c/o John S. Bennet, Esq.
Gould, Larson, Bennet, Wells & McDonnell, P.C.
30 Plains Road
P.O. Box 959
Essex, CT 06426
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission