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Final Decision FIC2012-097
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Marshall Segar,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-097
Chief, Police Department,
City of New London; and
Police Department, City of New London,
     Respondents
December 12, 2012

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 6, 2012, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
     The respondents submitted a copy of the audio recording that is a subject of this 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 letter of complaint filed February 17, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents denied his February 7, 2012 request for audio recordings and written attendance records of a New London Police Department staff meeting held on January 11, 2012.
     3.  It is found that, by email dated February 7, 2012, the complainant requested:
     A copy of the audio tape of the January 2011 supervisor staff meeting conducted by Chief Ackley, in which she allegedly made comments concerning the separation of service of myself, Michael Lacey and William Dittman. I am requesting only that particular portion of the tape, no other recorded information need be provided. In addition, I am requesting the sign-in roster from that meeting or any/all records of attendance.
     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:
          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)(1), 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.”
     7.  It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
     8.  The respondents maintain that the requested records are not subject to disclosure because they are records of a staff meeting that was not open to the public pursuant to §§1-200(2) and 1-225, G.S.
     9.  However, it is concluded that, while the meeting itself may not have been open to the public, there is no exemption in the FOI Act for records made of or concerning a non-public meeting. See, e.g., Docket #FIC 1998-354, Deborah J. Petersen and The Hartford Courant v. Building Department Investigative Committee of the city of New Britain Common Council (ordering disclosure of audio recording of executive session). 
     10.  After an in camera review of the requested audio recording, it is found that it does not contain the remarks alleged by the complainant.
     11.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by declining to produce the requested audio recording.
     12.  With respect to the requested attendance log, the respondents raised no objection to the disclosure of such record, if it exists.
     13.  It is concluded that the respondents violated the FOI Act by neither providing the requested attendance log, or making any inquiry into whether it existed.
     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 conduct a diligent search for any record showing attendance at the January 11, 2012 staff meeting, and forthwith provide any such record to the complainant, free of charge.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 12, 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:
Marshall Segar
P.O. Box 138
Old Saybrook, CT  06320
Chief, Police Department,
City of New London; and
Police Department, City of
New London
c/o Brian K. Estep, Esq.
Conway, Londregan, Sheehan & Monaco, PC
38 Huntington Street
New London, CT  06320
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-097/FD/cac/12/12/2012