FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
George L. Bozzi, Jr.,
against Docket #FIC 88-457
Superintendent of Wallingford Public Schools,
Respondent February 8, 1989
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 3, 1989, 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 and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-18a(a), G.S.
2. On November 4, 1988, the complainant orally requested that the respondent provide him with copies of all correspondence between the Lyman Hall High School principal or any other representative of the school or the Wallingford school system and any representative of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference ("CIAC") concerning the reporting of CIAC regulation violations committed by the school's football team in 1987, as well as any action taken by the CIAC. This request included an October 15, 1987 letter from the principal to the CIAC and an October 19, 1987 letter from the CIAC to the principal.
3. By letter dated November 11, 1988, the respondent denied this request.
4. By letter dated and filed with the Commission on November 18, 1988, the complainant appealed to the Commission from the denial of his request.
5. The respondent claims that the requested records are exempt from disclosure under §§10-151c and 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
6. At the hearing on this matter, the hearing officer granted the motion of the Lyman Hall High School football coach, Philip Ottochian, to intervene in the proceedings.
Docket #FIC 88-457 Page Two
7. Also at the hearing, the complainant clarified that he seeks recorded information only on what the football teams' violations were and the reporting of those violations. He does not seek any information about the football coach's performance.
8. It is found that the only records meeting the description in paragraph 2, above, that exist are the letters of October 15 and 19, 1987, which are also described in paragraph 2, above.
9. It is found that at the end of the 1987 school year the principal forwarded the two letters in question to the respondent.
10. It is found that those two letters contain information about the Lyman Hall High School 1987 football team's violations of CIAC regulations and the school football coach's performance with regard to those violations.
11. It is found that the information about the coach's performance evaluates his performance.
12. It is also found, however, that some of the information concerns only the violations of the CIAC regulations and is not evaluative of the coach's performance.
13. It is concluded that the evaluative information is exempt from disclosure under §10-151c.
14. It is further concluded that the non-evaluative information is not exempt from disclosure under §10-151c.
15. It is found that both the football coach and the union filed written objections with the respondent to disclosure of the requested records under §1-20a(c), G.S.
16. It is found that the disclosure of the information that pertains only to the team's violations of CIAC regulations and does not evaluate the coach's performance could in no way invade the personal privacy of the coach.
17. It is concluded, therefore, that the information described in paragraph 16, above, is not exempt from disclosure under §1-19(b)(2), G.S.
18. Thus it is concluded that the respondent violated §1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with copies of those portions of the requested records containing the information described in paragraph 16, above.
Docket #FIC 88-457 Page Three
The following order of 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 a copy of the letters described in paragraph 2, above.
2. In complying with paragraph 1 of this order, the respondent shall mask or otherwise redact those parts of the letters that evaluate the performance of the Lyman Hall High School football coach.
3. The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of §1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 8, 1989.
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission