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Final Decision FIC2012-210
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Joe Burgos Vega,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-210
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and State of
Connecticut, Department of Correction,
     Respondents
January 9, 2013

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 19, 2012, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction.  See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.). 
     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 on March 30, 2012, the complainant requested copies of records concerning the denial of the complainant’s request to be permitted to enroll in the commercial cleaning course at the Cheshire Correctional Institution.
     3.  It is found that on April 5, 2012, the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s request in writing.
     4.  By letter of complaint filed April 19, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of records.
     5.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:
          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, …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:
          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 … receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
     7.  Section 1-212(a), 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.”
     8.  It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
     9.  It is found that the respondents provided records containing the criteria for enrollment in the commercial cleaning course on October 16, 2012, which was three days before the hearing in this matter.
     10. It is found that the respondents did not provide such records in a prompt manner.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated the promptness provisions of the FOI Act.
     11. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant stated that he still sought records supporting the committee’s decision to deny him permission to enroll in the commercial cleaning course.
     12. It is found that the complainant could learn the reason underlying the committee’s decision from the course enrollment criteria concerning an inmate’s security risk group that was provided to the complainant on October 16, 2012 (see paragraph 9, above), and from the Review sheet he either received or reviewed in July 2012.  Specifically, it is found that such Review sheet contained the complainant’s security risk group score, which was too low to qualify for the commercial cleaning course.
     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 requirements of the FOI Act.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 9, 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:
Joe Burgos Vega #130135
Cheshire Correctional Institution
900 Highland Avenue
Cheshire, CT  06410
Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction;
and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
c/o James Neil, Esq.
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-210/FD/cac/1/9/2013