Findley v. Director, Housing Authority, Town of Mansfield
A list of handwritten notes of telephone calls used by a director in the course of her public duties to jog her memory, was a completed document and because it was not expected to be modified and did not contain information extraneous to its ultimate purpose, the list was not preliminary and, therefore, not exempt from disclosure pursuant to C.G.S. §1-210(b)(1), as a preliminary note or record. James Findley appealed to the Freedom of Information Commission alleging that the Mansfield Housing Authority and its director violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to disclose an unredacted copy of a telephone log compiled by the director, Rebecca Fields. The respondents claimed the entire record exempt under C.G.S. §1-210(b)(1). The director argued that it was not a public record because it is not an "official telephone log," required to be kept, but a list of notes concerning her work used to "jog her memory." The FOIC reviewed the records in camera and found that all notes pertained to Fields' job and virtually all had check marks beside them indicating that the task was completed. The handwritten list included the names and telephone numbers of individuals who called and reasons for the call. As in the 2009 Superior Court case of Strillacci v. Freedom of Information Commission, concerning a police chief's notes, Fields' list was a completed document used by her in the course of her public duties which was not expected to be modified and did not contain information extraneous to its ultimate purpose. The list was not preliminary and, therefore, was not exempt under C.G.S. §1-210(b)(1). Information claimed exempt under C.G.S. §1-210(b)(10), as attorney communications regarding pending litigation, pertained to ministerial matters such as the scheduling of meetings and depositions. Such proposed redactions did not relate to legal advice sought and did not meet the exemption test reaffirmed in the 2011 Supreme Court case of Lash v. Freedom of Information Commission. The federal Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. §552a did not apply to the nonfederal agency. The respondents violated C.G.S. §1-210(a) and §1-212(a) and were ordered to provide the complainant with a free copy of the record, with only the names of those applying for or receiving section 8 assistance redacted, as permitted by C.G.S. §17b-90.