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Final Decision FIC2014-831
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Bradshaw Smith,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-831
Christina Santos, President, Board of
Education, Windsor Public
Schools; and Board of Education,
Windsor Public Schools,
     Respondents
August 12, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 20, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2014-832, Bradshaw Smith v. Darlene Klause, Paul Panos, and Christina Santos, as Members, Executive Committee, Board of Education, Windsor Public Schools; and Board of Education, Windsor Public Schools.  
     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, by letter dated November 4, 2014, the complainant requested from the respondents a copy of “the handout attributable to Board member Michella Fissel dated September 14, 2014 and distributed to Board members only at the Board of Education meeting of October 21, 2014” (the “requested record”). 
     3.  By letter of complaint dated and filed November 14, 2014, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the request described in paragraph 2, above.  The complainant also requested the imposition of a civil penalty.
     4.  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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
     5.  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.”
     6.  It is found that the requested record is a public record within the meaning of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
     7.  It is found that the respondents did not acknowledge the November 4th request, or provide a copy of the requested record to the complainant in response to such request. 
     8.  At the hearing in this matter, counsel for the respondents argued that the requested record was distributed to board members and made available to members of the public in attendance at the October 21, 2014 meeting.  Counsel also argued that the complainant attended such meeting and obtained a copy of the requested record at that time.  Counsel further argued that, despite the fact that the complainant already had a copy of the requested record, the complainant requested it again on November 4th solely for the purpose of harassing the respondents, and that therefore, the respondents were not obligated to respond to such request. 
     9.  The complainant refused to testify regarding whether or not he was in attendance at the October 21, 2014 meeting, and claimed that, as of the date of the hearing in this matter, he had not yet received a copy of the requested record in response to his November 4th request.
     10. It is found that, even if the complainant had received a copy of the requested record at the October 21, 2014 meeting, such fact did not relieve the respondents of their obligation to provide a copy of such record when the complainant requested it on November 4, 2014.
     11. Based upon the foregoing, it is concluded that the respondents violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., as alleged by the complainant.
     12. The Commission declines to consider the imposition of a civil penalty.
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

     1.  Forthwith, the respondents shall provide a copy of the requested record to the complainant, free of charge.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 12, 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:
Bradshaw Smith
23 Ludlow Road
Windsor, CT  06095
Christina Santos, President, Board of Education, Windsor Public
Schools; and Board of Education, Windsor Public Schools
c/o Gary R. Brochu, Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin, LLP
One Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT  06103
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-831/FD/cac/8/12/2015