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Final Decision FIC2012-307
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Robert Sears,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-307
First Selectman, Town of Stafford; and
Town of Stafford,
     Respondents
January 23, 2013

     The above captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 3, 2012, at which time 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)(A), G.S.
     2.  It is found that by letter dated June 27, 2012, the complainant made a request to Gary Quinn, a Compliance Officer in the Town of Stafford Department of Public Safety, for the name of the individual who made a complaint against the complainant concerning violation of the blight ordinance (the “requested records”).
     3.  It is found that, by letter dated May 29, 2012 and filed with the Commission on June 6, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the failure of the respondents to provide the requested records violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).
     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.  Sections 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., state, respectively, in relevant parts:
          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. 
          ...
          Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record. 
     6.  It is concluded that the requested records, if any exist, are “public records” within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
     7.  It is found that the complainant has been involved in an extended land use dispute with his neighbors. By separate letters both dated May 24, 2012, Compliance Officer Quinn directed the complainant and his neighbor, Mr. DePeau, to take action to alleviate the “unsightly material” on their respective properties.
     8.  Based on the sworn testimony of Compliance Officer Quinn, it is found that the respondents do not maintain any record identifying the individual who complained about blight on the complainant’s property.
     9.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide copies of requested records which they maintained.
         
     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 23, 2013.
__________________________
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:

Robert Sears
26 Laurel Drive
Stafford Springs, CT  06076
First Selectman, Town of Stafford; and
Town of Stafford
c/o Richard Shuck
First Selectman
1 Main Street
Stafford Springs, CT  06076
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-307/FD/cac/1/23/2013