FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Marcel Dufresne and The Day,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 88-24

 

Regional Director of Region 6, Seaside Center, State of Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation, and State of Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation,

 

Respondents July 13, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was scheduled as a contested case for March 15, 1988, at which time the following persons requested and were granted party status pursuant to P.A. 87-285: Julie Kelley, John S. Matarazzo, Michael Ashford, Vivian Royster, Carradine McAlpine and Earl Joseph Peters. On March 15, 1988, the parties appeared and presented evidence and argument. The hearing was continued to March 31, 1988, at which time the parties presented a Vaughn index, testimonial evidence, 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 dated December 16, 1987, the complainants requested reports related to an investigation by the respondent department into allegations of abuse at Seaside Regional Center.

 

3. Access to the report was denied December 23, 1987 by the respondent regional director.

 

4. On January 21, 1988, the complainants mailed their complaint to the Commission alleging failure of the respondents to provide a copy of a public record.

 

5. The specific report to which the complainants were denied access is a report of investigation of allegations of abuse to clients in Unit 201 as described in an anonymous letter to the Office of Protection and Advocacy dated November 1, 1987.

 

Docket #FIC 88-24 page two

 

6. After the request of the complainants was denied,

pursuant to P.A. 87-285, Earl Joseph Peters, Michael Ashford and John Campion filed objections to disclosure of the report on the ground that disclosure would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.

 

7. The respondents claimed the report was exempt under 1-19(b)(2) and 1-19(b)(4), G.S.

 

8. It is found that the report sets forth the allegations in the letter of complaint, the methodology of the investigation, factual findings, general conclusions and recommendations for institutional changes.

 

9. It is found that the report does not identify clients by name.

 

10. It is found that the report contains medical information concerning clients and other information concerning clients which would be identifying information only for staff and relatives familiar with the particular activities and problems of specific clients.

 

11. It is found that the report contains information concerning the job performance of various staff members.

 

12. It is found that, as a result of the conclusions of the report, staff changes occurred including dismissal of one staff member and voluntary demotion of another.

 

13. It is found that the report contains information concerning a staff member who has appealed disciplinary action taken against him by the respondents.

 

14. It is concluded that no portion of the report is exempt under 1-19(b)(4), G.S., because its contents do not pertain to strategy and negotiations with respect to pending claims and litigation to which the respondents are a party.

 

15. It is found that the report contains medical information with respect to one staff member.

 

16. It is found that the respondents failed to prove that the medical information did not relate to the job performance of the employee.

 

17. It is found that there is a great and substantial public interest in the care of mentally retarded people at state institutions.

 

18. It is concluded that the respondents failed to prove that the report is exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 88-24 page three

 

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

 

1. The respondents shall provide the complainants with the report described at paragraph 5 herein within 30 days of the mailing of the final decision in this case.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of July 13, 1988.

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission