FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Daniel J. Sorensen,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-114

 

Personnel Director of the State of Connecticut Department of Income Maintenance,

 

Respondent August 26, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 2, 1987, 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 March 25, 1987 the complainant made a request of the respondent for copies of the following:

 

a. all instructional material and criteria used by the panel in grading the test material submitted by the applicants to test #152-5467;

 

b. all materials submitted by the applicants to test #152-5467;

 

c. materials used by the panel in grading the material submitted by the applicants to test #152-5467; and

 

d. all the official personnel records of the applicants to test #152-5467.

 

3. By letter dated April 6, 1987 the complainant amended paragraph 2d, above, to request only the most recent performance evaluation for each applicant.

 

Docket #FIC 87-114 Page 2

 

4. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on April 20, 1987 the complainant appealed the denial of his request for all of the records.

 

5. As of the date of the hearing, the complainant had been provided with copies of the records referred to at paragraph 2a, above. The complainant had also been provided access to his merit promotion examination file. However, the name of the rater had been deleted by the respondent.

 

6. At hearing, the parties stipulated that the deletion of the rater's name was not at issue and will therefore not be treated herein.

 

7. The respondent claims that the information identified at paragraphs 2b, 2c and 2d, above, is exempt from mandatory disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), 5-202(f), 5-225, 5-237 and 5-272(d), G.S.

 

8. The respondent claims further that its refusal to allow inspection and/or copying of the merit promotion examinations for the other candidates is based on 5-225-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies which prohibits the copying of material related to promotion examinations.

 

9. It is found that 5-225, G.S., does not explicitly or by implication prohibit the public from exercising their rights under the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of a candidate's papers, markings, and other such documents.

 

10. It is further found that an agency cannot by regulation supersede the mandate of the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Therefore, 5-225-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies can only exempt the examination materials to the extent that such regulation does not conflict with 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

11. It is found that the records compiled by the respondent as part of the program supervisor position examination are recorded data used to determine promotions of state employees. Such records, therefore, relate to the conduct of the public's business.

 

Docket #FIC 87-114 Page 3

 

12. It is concluded that the records in question are public records as defined in 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

13. It is found that each merit promotion examination file contains an evaluation of the candidate's job experience, performance appraisals, educational history, previous employment and salary history, training and ratings supplied by the evaluator and a personality assessment of the candidate.

 

14. It is further found that the names and scores of the 29 candidates whose files are being sought are placed on a promotion eligibility list. It is from this list that other state agencies fill personnel needs.

 

15. It is found that the public has a legitimate interest in the performance and capabilities of public employees.

 

16. It is also found that 5 of the 29 files contain medical information concerning the applicant and/or members of the applicant's family.

 

17. It is concluded that to the extent the files contain medical information concerning the applicant or members of the applicant's family, such information is exempt from mandatory disclosure under 1-19a, G.S., by operation of the non-disclosure provision of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

18. It is found that 5-202(f), 5-225, 5-237 and 5-272(d), G.S., are inapplicable to the respondent and therefore do not operate as an exemption to the mandatory disclosure requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.

 

19. It is therefore concluded that, except as noted in paragraph 5, above, the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide the complainant with the information identified at paragraph 2b, 2c and 2d, above.

 

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 the records more fully described in paragraphs 2b, 2c and 2d of the findings, above.

 

Docket #FIC 87-114 Page 4

 

2. In complying with paragraph 1 of this order, the respondent may mask or otherwise delete medical information concerning the applicant or members of the applicant's family which is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 26, 1987.

 

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission