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Final Decision FIC2012-414
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Gaylord Salters,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-414
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and State of
Connecticut, Department of Correction,
     Respondents
May 22, 2013

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 4, 2013, 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.).  The case was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2012-407; Gaylord Salters v. Chief, Police Department, City of New Haven; Police Department, City of New Haven; Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
     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 July 6, 2012, the complainant requested a copy of a certain disciplinary investigation report.
     3.  It is found that the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Administrator for the Department of Correction (“DOC”) in Wethersfield acknowledged the complainant’s request on July 13, 2012, and indicated that she forwarded the complainant’s request back to the complainant’s facility FOI liaison, in Cheshire. 
     4.  By letter of complaint filed July 24, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to provide him with a copy of the report he requested.
     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 FOI liaison at the Cheshire facility was out on maternity leave and did not receive the complainant’s request for records, sent by the DOC Administrator on July 13, 2012, as described in paragraph 3, above.
     10. It is found that in the liaison’s absence, no one provided records to the complainant in response to his request.
     11. It is found that the DOC FOI Administrator first learned that the complainant’s request was still outstanding when she received the complainant’s letter of appeal to the FOI Commission several months later.
     12. It is found that the DOC FOI Administrator then called the new liaison at Cheshire and arranged for the responsive records to be sent to Corrigan, where the complainant now resides.
     13. It is found that the respondents failed to comply in a timely manner with the complainant’s request for records. 
     14. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty.  The respondents should be aware, however, that the Commission considers the respondents’ violation to be without reasonable grounds in this instance and urges the respondents to provide better FOI training to substitute liaisons, if possible.
     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 comply with the promptness requirements of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 22, 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:
Gaylord Salters #211892
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center
986 Norwich-New London Turnpike
Uncasville, CT  06382
Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department
of Correction; and State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
c/o James E. Neil, Esq.
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-414/FD/cac/5/22/2013