FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Paul J. Blancato,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 91-153

 

Personnel Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation and Christopher Hinze,

 

Respondents February 19, 1992

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 12, 1991, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

At hearing, Christopher Hinze was granted party status pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

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

 

2. By letter dated June 7, 1991 and filed June 10, 1991, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the Personnel Director failed to provide him with information he requested concerning Mr. Hinze's dismissal from employment with the Department of Transportation.

 

3. It is found that by letter dated April 26, 1991, the complainant requested that the Personnel Director supply him with the reasons for Mr. Hinze's dismissal from the Department of Transportation.

 

4. It is also found that by letter dated May 23, 1991 the Personnel Director informed Mr. Hinze that a request had been made for information contained in his personnel file. The

 

Docket #FIC 91-153 Page 2

 

Personnel Director enclosed an objection form to be completed by Mr. Hinze if he objected to disclosure of the requested information.

 

5. It is also found that Mr. Hinze completed the objection form on June 3, 1991 indicating that he objected to release of information in his personnel file concerning reasons for dismissal and any other information regarding his job performance.

 

6. It is also found that by letter dated June 5, 1991 the Personnel Director responded to the complainant's request and indicated that Mr. Hinze had objected to disclosure of the requested information and therefore that the respondent Personnel Administrator would not disclose the requested information.

 

7. The respondents maintain that the requested information is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), G.S., which permits the nondisclosure of "personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy."

 

8. It is found that the information requested by the complainant is information contained in a personnel file.

 

9. It is also found that absent a compelling public interest in disclosure, Mr. Hinze had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the reasons for his dismissal from the Department of Transportation.

 

10. It is also found that release of the requested information would be embarrassing to Mr. Hinze.

 

11. It is concluded that disclosure of the requested information would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of February 19, 1992.

 

 

Debra L. Rembowski

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 91-153 Page 3

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

Paul J. Blancato

34 Marlborough Street

Portland, CT 06480

 

Christopher Hinze

P.O. Box 201

Portland, CT 06480-0201

 

Personnel Director, State of Connecticut

Department of Transportation

c/o Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Mobley

P.O. Box 120

Hartford, CT 06101

 

 

Debra L. Rembowski

Acting Clerk of the Commission