Final Decision FIC2011-118
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2011-118|
Chief, Police Department,
City of Shelton; and Police
Department, City of Shelton,
January 25, 2012
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 20 and November 30, 2011, at which times 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 2011-136, Loren Casertano v. Chief, Police Department, City of Shelton; and Police Department, City of Shelton.
1. The respondents are public agencies, within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
2. It is found that, by letter dated January 31, 2011, the complainant requested from the respondents a copy of: (a) the complete “grievance, discipline, and personnel” file of Ben Trabkas; and (b) the complete “grievance, discipline, and personnel” file of Kathy Schneiders.
3. It is found that, by letter dated February 28, 2011, the respondents denied the complainant’s request, described in paragraph 2, above, because Mr. Trabkas and Ms. Schneiders objected to the release of the information in their files.
4. By letter of complaint, dated and filed March 8, 2011, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by failing to comply with the request for records described in paragraph 2, above.
5. 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.
6. 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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
7. 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.”
8. At the July 20 hearing in this matter, the parties reached a settlement of the complaint, whereby the respondents agreed to provide the complainant with an opportunity to inspect the requested files, and the complainant agreed to withdraw the complaint. By letter dated September 14, 2011, the complainant requested that the Commission reopen this matter, because, although the respondents permitted him to inspect the records as agreed, he claims they failed to provide him access to all of the requested records. At its October 12, 2011 regular meeting, the Commission voted to reopen this matter.
9. At the November 30th hearing in this matter, the complainant stated that he wished to withdraw his appeal only as it pertains to the request for “personnel” files. The Commission therefore shall not further consider the allegations with respect to such records.
10. With regard to the remainder of the records at issue, at the November 30th hearing, the respondent chief testified, and it is found, that he personally conducted a thorough search of all records of discipline and grievances maintained by the respondents both at the police station, and at city hall. It is further found that the respondents provided the complainant with copies of all records of grievances and discipline pertaining to Mr. Trabkas and Ms. Schneiders, maintained by them, responsive to the request described in paragraph 2, above.
11. Based upon the foregoing, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged in the complaint.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 25, 2012.
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:
9 Shelter Rock Drive
Shelton, CT 06484
Chief, Police Department, City of Shelton; and
Police Department, City of Shelton
c/o Ramon S. Sous, Esq.
159 Main Street
Seymour, CT 06483
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission