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Final Decision FIC2012-598
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Paul Baer,
Docket #FIC 2012-598
Todd Mountford, President, West
Thompson Independent Fire
Association #1; and West Thompson
Independent Fire Association #1,
July 10, 2013

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 6, 2013, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The case caption has been amended to individually identify the respondent president.
     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 email dated October 16, 2012, the complainant made a request to the respondents for:
          [1] A list of all contractors and sub-contractors which are or have  been involved  in the roof replacement project.
          [2] A copy of all certificates of insurance for all contractors and  sub-contractors.
          [3] A list of all employees of contractors and sub-contractors.
The complainant also requested this information to be provided in electronic format, if possible.
     3.  By email dated October 22, 2012, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of the records, described in paragraph 2, above.    The complainant also requested the imposition of civil penalties against Todd Mountford, President of the West Thompson Independent Fire Association #1.
     4.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records or files” as:
          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 “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 respondents maintain the records, described in paragraph 2, above, and that such records are public records and must be disclosed in accordance with §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
     8.  It is found that on or about November 20, 2012, the respondents received notice of the docketing of the complaint in this matter.  It is found that, subsequent to receiving the complaint, the respondent president gathered records responsive to the complainant’s request.  It is found that the respondent president then asked the executive assistant in the Town of Thompson Selectmen’s Office to scan and forward, via email, copies of the records to the complainant.  It is further found that on or about December 3, 2012, the executive assistant forwarded such records to the complainant. 
     9.  At the hearing, the complainant acknowledged that he received records responsive to his October 16th request, but alleged that such response was not prompt in violation of the FOI Act.
     10. The respondent president testified that he heard from certain Town of Thompson officials that the complainant had made similar records requests, and assumed that the complainant would have received any responsive records from the Town.  The respondent president acknowledged that he is unfamiliar with the requirements under the FOI Act and that he took the complainant’s October 16th request “lightly.”  He also apologized to the complainant and the Commission for the time and effort spent on handling this request and complaint.
     11. It is found that the respondents’ provision of the requested records, described in paragraph 8, above, was not prompt within the meaning of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
     12. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of the requested records, described in paragraph 2, above.
     13. Notwithstanding the conclusion in paragraph 12, above, and due to the facts and circumstances of this case, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of a civil penalty in this matter.
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
     1.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness provisions of
§§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 10, 2013.
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Paul Baer
P.O. Box 522
Thompson, CT  06277
Todd Mountford, President, West Thompson Independent Fire Association #1; and West Thompson Independent Fire Association #1
248 West Thompson Road
North Grosvenordale, CT  06255

Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission