FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Phyllis A. Williams, Robert Silvestri and Local 387,

 

Complainants,

 

against Docket #FIC 88-352

 

Personnel Officer, Connecticut Correctional Center at Cheshire,

 

Respondent February 22, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 18, 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 and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated August 1, 1988, the complainant Phyllis Williams requested that the respondent provide her with copies of the following documents relating to allegations of misconduct at her assigned post on galleries 7 and 8:

 

a. the complaints of the inmate and the officer who made the allegations;

 

b. investigative reports written by Lieutenant Murphy to Captains Arasimowicz, Benwell and/or Armstrong;

 

c. a report from any of those captains to Deputy Warden Goldson and/or Warden Liburdi;

 

d. a report from Deputy Warden Goldson to Warden Liburdi;

 

e. a report from Deputy Warden Goldson to the Department of Correction's central office or commissioner;

 

f. a reply from the department's central office or commissioner to Warden Liburdi and/or Deputy Warden Goldson;

 

Docket #FIC 88-352 Page Two

 

g. a report from Harold McIsaac to any of the above-named officers; and

 

h. the related pages of the log books for galleries 1 through 8.

 

3. By letter dated August 30, 1988, and filed with the Commission on September 6, 1988, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging the denial of complainant Williams's request.

 

4. At the hearing, the respondent moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming it was not filed within thirty days of the alleged violation. Relying on 1-21i(b), G.S., and the complaint's August 30, 1988 postmark, the hearing officer denied the motion.

 

5. The respondent claims that the requested records are exempt under:

 

a. 1-19(b)(2), G.S., as records whose disclosure would constitute an invasion of privacy in the sense of the right to be left alone and free from physical harm;

 

b. the spirit of 1-19(b)(13), G.S., which allows for the confidentiality of reports of corruption and waste to the state auditors;

 

c. 1-19(b)(3), G.S., since criminal charges may yet be brought when the internal investigation is done; and

 

d. 1-19(b)(4) and 1-19b(b), G.S., because the records relate to a pending workers compensation claim and their disclosure would affect the discovery rights of the parties to that claim.

 

6. It is found that no records as described in paragraphs 2b, f and g, above, exist.

 

7. It is further found that the respondent has provided the complainants with copies of the records described in paragraphs 2d and e, above.

 

8. It is found that providing the complainants with copies of the log books as described in paragraph 2h, above, would require the respondent to conduct research not required by the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Docket #FIC 88-352 Page Three

 

9. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent did not violate any provision of the Freedom of Information Act by not providing the complainants with copies of the requested log book pages.

 

10. With respect to the records requested in paragraph 2c, above, it is found that no report from Captain Arasimowicz to Lieutenant Murphy exists. Reports from Captain Benwell and Captain Armstrong to Lieutenant Murphy do exist.

 

11. It is found that both those reports and the records described in paragraph 2a, above, contain names and much information that identifies persons other than the complainants and the respondent.

 

12. It is found that disclosure of the names of those third parties and all information identifying them would constitute an invasion of their personal privacy.

 

13. It is concluded that the names of the third parties and all information identifying them is exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

14. In addition, it is found that disclosure of the third party names and identifying information would create a serious security risk for those persons.

 

15. It is found that the records described in paragraphs 2a and c, above, are not complaints filed with the state auditors.

 

16. Thus it is concluded that those records are not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(13), G.S.

 

17. It is found that no criminal charges relating to the alleged misconduct had been brought at the time of complainant Williams's request for records.

 

18. It is concluded, therefore, that the records described in paragraphs 2a and c, above, are not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(3), G.S.

 

19. It is found that complainant Williams has filed a workers compensation claim for stress allegedly created by the allegations of misconduct, but that the respondent failed to prove this claim was pending at the time of complainant Williams's records request.

 

Docket #FIC 88-352 Page Four

 

20. It is concluded that the records described in paragraphs 2a and c, above, are not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(4) and 1-19b(b), G.S.

 

21. It is concluded that disclosure of the records described in paragraphs 2a and c, above, except for third party names and identifying information, is required by 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

22. Thus it is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainants access to the records described in paragraphs 2a and c, above, except for the third party names and identifying information.

 

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 complainants with copies of the records described in paragraphs 2a and c, above, carefully masking or otherwise redacting the names of all third parties and all information that identifies them.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 8, 1989.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission