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Final Decision FIC2014-281
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Timothy Townsend,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-281
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and State of
Connecticut, Department of Correction,
     Respondents
March 11, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 18, 2014, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction.  See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.).   
     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 April 2, 2014, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request for a copy of a menu.
     3.  It is found that the complainant made a March 29, 2014 request to the respondents’ Food Services Director for “a copy of the menu for low cholesterol/low fat diet.”
     4.  It is found that the respondents offered the record to the complainant on December 2, 2014, requiring payment of a $7.00 copying fee, at the statutory rate of $.25 per page.
     5.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:
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.
     6.  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 … receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
     7.  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.”
     8.  It is concluded that the menu requested by the complainant is a public record within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
     9.  The complainant maintains that the record was not provided promptly, and was only offered to him long after the controversy to which the menu pertained had passed.
     10. The respondents’ only explanation for the delay in providing the requested menu was to provide hearsay testimony that the custodian of the record couldn’t find it.
     11. Given that the complainant appears to have directed his request to an individual (the Food Services Director) who could be presumed to have the requisite knowledge to locate a menu, it is found that eight months was an unreasonably long time to locate the requested menu.
     12. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated the FOI Act with by failing to provide the requested menu promptly, within the meaning §1-212, G.S.
     
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
     1.  The respondents shall forthwith provide the requested menu to the complainant, free of charge.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 11, 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:
Timothy Townsend # 243804
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center
986 Norwich-New London Turnpike
Uncasville, CT  06382
Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction;
and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
c/o James Neil, Esq.
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-281/FD/cac/3/11/2015