In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Francis J. Valutti,




against Docket #FIC 86-328


Director of Personnel of the City of Bristol,


Respondent November 12, 1987


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 30, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.


After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:


1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


2. By letter dated November 7, 1986, the complainant made a request of the respondent for the portion of the pre-employment application of Detective Daniel Britt which states:


"Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, describe in full."


3. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on November 24, 1986, the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to provide him with the requested record.


4. The respondent claims that the requested information is confidential, that release of the information without Detective Britt's permission might lead to a grievance or prohibited practice claim and that disclosure might constitute an invasion of privacy and a denial of constitutional rights.


5. It is found that neither the expectation of confidentiality nor the threat of a grievance or other claim constitutes a valid exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, other state statute or federal law.


Docket #FIC 86-328 Page Two


6. It is found that there is a legitimate public interest in the criminal records, if any, of police officers and that disclosure of information regarding a police officer's criminal records would not constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.


7. It is further found that 1-20b, G.S., provides that "any record of the arrest of any person, other than a juvenile, except a record erased pursuant to chapter 961a, shall be a public record from the time of such arrest and shall be disclosed" pursuant to 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.


8. The respondent failed to prove the applicability of chapter 961a, G.S. to the information contained in Detective Britt's application.


9. It is also found that the respondent failed to articulate any cognizable claim regarding the alleged unconstitutionality of disclosure.


10. It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., when it denied the complainant's request for a copy of the portion of Detective Britt's pre-employment application indicating arrests and criminal prosecutions.


The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.


1. The respondent forthwith shall provide the complainant with a copy of the portion of Detective Daniel Britt's pre-employment application having to do with arrests and criminal prosecutions.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 12, 1987.


Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission