FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Stephen Winters and Post Telegram Newspapers

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-158

 

Milford Board of Education and Chairman, Milford Board of Education

 

Respondents August 26, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 7, 1987, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. At the hearing, Anthony Carrano moved to intervene in the proceedings. The motion to intervene was granted under 1-21j-28 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies to the extent that the intervenor was given permission to participate fully in the hearing before the undersigned hearing officer.

 

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. On May 23, 1987, a representative of the complainant newspaper requested a copy of the letter of resignation of Seabreeze School teacher Anthony Carrano.

 

3. On May 26, 1987, the request for the letter of resignation was denied.

 

4. From that denial, the complainants appealed to the Commission by letter dated May 27, 1987 and filed with the Commission on May 29, 1987.

 

5. The respondents claim that the requested letter of resignation is exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(2) and 10-151c, G.S.

 

6. It is found that the letter of resignation in question was placed in the personnel file of the subject teacher and that the teacher requested that it be kept confidential.

 

Docket #FIC 87-158 Page 2

 

7. It also is found that the requested letter of resignation contains a statement of resignation and the reason for the resignation.

 

8. It further is found that the requested letter of resignation does not contain medical information, information about the subject teacher's family or information that would identify students.

 

9. It further is found that there is a legitimate public interest in the resignation of a public school teacher and that the respondents failed to prove that there was no legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the particular letter of resignation in question.

 

10. It therefore is found that the respondents failed to prove that disclosure of the requested letter of resignation would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

11. It also is found that the requested letter of resignation is just that, and not a record of teacher performance and evaluation within the meaning of 10-151c, G.S.

 

12. It therefore is concluded that the requested letter of resignation is not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(2) or 10-151c, G.S.

 

13. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondents violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by denying the complainants' request for a copy of the requested letter of resignation.

 

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 complainants with a copy of the letter of resignation more fully described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above.

 

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