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Final Decision FIC2013-062
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
David Godbout,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-062
Andrea Stillman, Member, State of
Connecticut, Connecticut State Senate,
     Respondents
April 22, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 20, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, the above-captioned matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2013-051, David Godbout v. Edward Meyer, Member, State of Connecticut, Connecticut State Senate.
     Following the hearing in this matter, the complainant and the respondent submitted affidavits as after-filed exhibits.
     After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
     1.  The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2.  It is found that on February 2, 2013, the complainant requested to inspect copies of records of “any type of meeting or meetings being discussed, mentioned, planned, cancelled, or otherwise described for the time period of 1 Jan 13 to the present in respect to the Senator or any of her staff.”  The complainant instructed the respondent that he sought “any records produced from any meeting or anything that may be considered to be a meeting (using a most liberal definition) of any type…”
     3.  By letter filed February 7, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to permit him to inspect the records he 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  (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. .
     6.  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.
     7.  It is found that on February 20, 2013, the respondent informed the complainant that any meetings responsive to the complainant’s request were noticed on the General Assembly’s public website, along with related agendas and minutes.
     8.  It is found that, later on February 20, 2013, the complainant told the respondent that he sought records pertaining to “any type of meeting,” not exclusively “legislative committee meetings.”
     9.  It is found that, on March 15, 2013, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the relevant pages from the respondent’s calendar on Microsoft Outlook.
     10. It is found that such calendar contains several entries per day setting forth the respondent’s appointments, including “staff meeting[s], “organizational meeting[s], “training” sessions, legislative “session,” “breakfasts,” “caucus,” “committee meetings,” etc.
     11. It is found that the respondent redacted two items from the records provided to the complainant, to withhold personal appointments on two consecutive weekend days.
     12. It is found that the respondent did not provide access to responsive records in a prompt manner.
     13. It is also found that at the time of the complainant’s request, the respondent maintained several responsive emails but the respondent failed to perform a diligent search for such e-mails or other responsive records.
     14. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated §§1-210(a), G.S.
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
     1.  The respondent shall conduct a search for emails and other records responsive to the complainant’s request.  Any responsive records shall be provided to the complainant free of charge.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 22, 2015.
__________________________
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:
David Godbout
15 Cardinal Road
East Lyme, CT  06333
Andrea Stillman, Member, State of Connecticut,
Connecticut State Senate
c/o Philip Miller, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
State of Connecticut,
Office of the Attorney General
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT  06106

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2013-062/FD/cac/4/22/2015