In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Patrick J. Shevlin and Local 834, IAFF,




against Docket #FIC 88-91


Bridgeport Civil Service Commission,


Respondent July 13, 1988


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 4, 1988, at which time the complainants 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. From December 8 to 11, 1987, the respondent held a promotional examination for the position of fire lieutenant.


3. At meetings of the respondent on February 3, 1988, and March 10, 1988, the complainant Patrick Shevlin orally requested access to tape recordings of the oral portion of his examination. On behalf of the membership of the respondent Local 834, IAFF, he also requested that each member who took the test receive access to the tape of his own oral examination.


4. At those same meetings, the respondent denied the complainants' requests.


5. By letter dated March 11, 1988, and filed with the Commission on March 15, 1988, the complainants appealed to the Commission.


6. At the hearing the respondent moved to dismiss the complaint.


7. It is found that the requested tape recordings are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.


Docket #88-91 Page Two


8. It is found that although test questions may be exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(6), G.S., the respondent already has disclosed the test questions for both the written and oral portions of the examination in question.


9. It is found that individuals' test answers do not fall within the 1-19(b)(6), G.S., exemption.


10. Thus it is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by not providing the complainants with prompt access to the requested tape recordings.


11. It is also found that the respondent, following its own regulations, limited the amount of time and the number of times the complainants could review their answers and results for the written portion of the examination.


12. It is concluded that such regulations are void under 1-19(a), G.S., as they curtail the right granted to every person by 1-19(a), G.S., to inspect or copy public records during a public agency's regular business hours.


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


1. The respondent's motion to dismiss the complaint is hereby denied.


2. The respondent forthwith shall provide the complainants with access to the requested records.


3. The respondent 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 special meeting of July 13, 1988.


Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission