FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Housing Authority of the City of New Haven,

 

Complainant,

 

against Docket #FIC 87-54

 

Commission on Equal Opportunities of the City of New Haven and Executive Director of the Commission on Equal Opportunities of the City of New Haven,

 

Respondents July 8, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 18, 1987, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter to the respondent executive director dated January 23, 1987, the complainant requested to inspect and photocopy the entire file for the respondent commission's docket #85-7, including any previous deletions.

 

3. By letter to the respondent commission's attorney dated February 6, 1987, the complainant reiterated and clarified its request.

 

4. By letter dated February 23, 1987, and filed with the Commission on February 25, 1987, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging a denial of its request.

 

5. The respondents claim that all records not yet disclosed are not subject to disclosure because they promised certain individuals their identities would remain confidential and this expectation of confidentiality must be weighed in a balancing test to determine the disclosability of such records.

 

Docket #FIC 87-54 Page Two

 

6. It is found that on April 25, 1986, the respondents allowed the attorney for a complainant in a case before the respondent commission, its docket #85-7, to see the entire Summary of Findings, which was in the file in question.

 

7. It is found that on February 18, 1987, the respondent denied the complainant's request to inspect parts of the Summary of Findings identifying three individuals who requested confidentiality and the investigator's notes of his interviews with those individuals.

 

8. It is found that the records not yet disclosed are public records as defined by 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

9. It is found that in the absence of a specific statutory provision to the contrary, a promise of confidentiality alone does not exempt these records from the disclosure requirements of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

10. It is found that the respondents did not claim any statutory provisions that specifically permit a pledge of confidentiality, and, in any event, failed to prove any statutory exemption applies to the records in question.

 

11. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by denying the complainant access to the records described in paragraph 7, above.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended

on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The respondents forthwith shall provide the complainant with a copy of the full text of the records described in paragraph 7 of the above findings.

 

2. The respondents henceforth shall act in strict compliance with 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 8, 1987.

 

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission