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Final Decision FIC2014-256
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Seth Wolfe,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-256
First Selectman, Town of Clinton;
and Town of Clinton,
     Respondents
January 14, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 23, 2014, 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.  By email dated April 19, 2014, the complainant made a request to the respondents for the following: 
a. “copies of all emails and phone records by Angela Finelli to William Fritz or any town of Clinton employee, and any member of the Clinton police department regarding payroll reports, Seth Wolfe, Clinton police time sheets or time cards, and FOI requests between March 1, 2014 to April 16, 2014;
b. copies of invoices and paid receipts for all payroll computer programs used by the Clinton police department and town of Clinton;
c. copies of all invoices for outside road jobs conducted by Clinton Police Department for July 1, 2010 to August 31, 2010;
d. word documents containing names of all contacts the town of Clinton uses within the state of Connecticut IRS for tax reporting purposes and the spending of Clinton, Connecticut tax dollars . . . [t]he information should include contact names, phone numbers, e-mails and job titles; and
e. word document[s] containing all agencies [from which] the Town of  Clinton receives funding … for the Clinton police department from state and federal sources and any other sources other than Clinton tax payers . . . [t]he record should include the names of contacts, phone numbers, e-mails, and job title within each agency.”
     3.  By email dated and filed on April 29, 2014, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his records request.
     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, 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.
     5.  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.
     6.  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.”
     7.  It is found that the requested records described in paragraph 2, above, to the extent they exist, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
     8.  At the hearing on this matter, the complainant stated, and it is found, that the respondents provided all records responsive to his April 19, 2014 request except for those requested in paragraphs 2a and 2b, above, on or about October 22, 2014.
     9.  With respect to the complainant’s records request for emails as described in paragraph 2a, above, it is found that the e-mails were not provided for the following reasons:
a. initially the request was inadvertently misplaced; and
b. the town’s information technology personnel (the only person within the town with skills to retrieve the e-mails) was unavailable due to a family medical emergency.
     10. It is found that by email dated October 23, 2014, the respondents provided the complainant with the e-mails responsive to his request.
     11. With respect to the complainant’s records request for phone records, as described in paragraph 2a, above, the Commission takes administrative notice of the record and decision in Docket #FIC2014-278, which dealt with whether the respondents maintained records responsive to the complainant’s request for the same type of phone records. 
     12. Specifically, the Commission takes administrative notice of paragraphs 4, 10, 11, and 12 of the final decision in Docket #FIC2014-278, which provide:
4.  It is found that the respondents on May 23, 2014 provided copies [of] all records in their custody that were responsive to the complainant’s request.
10. The complainant maintains that additional responsive records exist.
11.  It is found that there is no reason to believe that additional records exist.  Further, it is found that the respondents provided all records responsive to the complainant’s request.

12.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.
     13. It found that the complainant provided no new evidence which would support a finding that the respondents maintain the type of phone records he requested as described in paragraph 2a, above.  Therefore, it is found that there remains no reason to believe that such records exist. 
     14. With respect to the requested records described in paragraph 2b, above, it is found that such records do not exist.  It is found that to the extent such records ever existed, they would have been destroyed pursuant to the respondents’ record destruction authorization issued by the Connecticut State Library, Office of the Public Records Administrator on August 19, 2013.
     15. The respondents conceded at the hearing, and it is found, that they failed to comply promptly with the complainant’s request.
     16. Consequently, it is found that the respondents, although not intentionally, violated the promptness provisions of the §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
     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 and 1-212, G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 14, 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:
Seth Wolfe
144 East Main Street
Apt. 24D
Clinton, CT  06413
First Selectman, Town of Clinton; and Town of Clinton
c/o John S. Bennet, Esq.
P.O. Box 959
Essex, CT  06426
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-256FD/cac/1/14/2015