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Final Decision FIC2011-276
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION

Donna Best,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2011-276
Mayor, Town of Stratford; and
Town of Stratford,
     Respondents
April 11, 2012

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 11, 2011, February 7, 2012, and March 9, 2012 at which times the complainant and the respondents appeared 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.  It is found that, by letter dated May 3, 2011, the complainant requested from the respondents a copy of “all documents created between December 1, 2009, and the present that concern or led up to the August 23, 2010 Summary Assessment of the Stratford Emergency Medical Services Final Report.”
3.  By letter of complaint, dated May 26, 2011 and filed May 31, 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. 
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 . . . (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 records, described in paragraph 2, above, to the extent they exist, are public records, within the meaning of §1-200(5), G.S.
8.  It is found that, by email, dated October 4, 2011, counsel for the respondents informed the complainant that he would provide her with the documents the town recently sent him concerning her FOI request “as soon as possible.” 
9.  It is found that, on October 17, 2011, the respondents provided the complainant with copies of records responsive to the request, described in paragraph 2, above.  It is found that one additional responsive document was provided to the complainant on March 9, 2012.
10.  At the hearings in this matter, the complainant alleged that the respondents had failed to provide her with all records responsive to her request.  In support of this allegation, the complainant testified that she had seen, sent and received emails while she was employed as administrator of Stratford Emergency Medical Services (SEMS), that would be responsive to the request, described in paragraph 2, above.
11.  It is found that the computer server presently used by the respondent Town of Stratford stores emails for only 90 days, after which time they are automatically deleted.  It is found that a thorough search was conducted by the respondents for emails, as well as for all other records responsive to the request, described in paragraph 2, above.  It is further found that, aside from the records described in paragraph 10, above, the respondents maintain no other responsive records.
12.  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 April 11, 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:
Donna Best
c/o Leon M. Rosenblatt, Esq. and
Richard J. Padyleula, Esq.
10 North Main Street
West Hartford, CT  06107
Mayor, Town of Stratford; and Town of Stratford
c/o Michael S. Casey, Esq.
Bishop, Jackson & Kelly, LLC
472 Wheelers Farms Road
3rd Floor
Milford, CT  06461
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2011-276/FD/cac/4/11/2012