In the Matter of a Complaint by                        Final Decision


Fred Radford,




            against              Docket #FIC 91-256


Trumbull Board of Education,


                        Respondent                  May 27, 1992


            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 23, 1991, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The Trumbull Education Association also appeared and moved to be admitted as a party.  It was granted permission to participate fully as an intervenor at the hearing.


            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 of complaint dated August 15, 1991 and postmarked August 16, 1991, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that his request for certain documents had been denied.


            3.         It is found that the complainant by letter dated August 2, 1991 requested from the respondent copies of the following records pertaining to the 1985-1988 and 1989-1992 collective bargaining agreements between the respondent and the Trumbull Education Association (the "TEA"):


                        a.         the original TEA request;

                        b.         the original Board of Education offer;

                        c.         the last and final TEA request

                        d.         the last and final Board of Education offer;

                        e.         the list of unresolved items from which the arbitrators select either the final TEA request or the final Board of Education offer;

                        f.          the final binding award; and

                        g.         the cost of the services of the Board of Education's negotiator.


Docket #FIC 91-256                           Page 2


            4.         It is found that the respondent by letter dated August 8, 1991 denied the complainant's request, claiming that the requested records were exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(9), G.S.


            5.         The TEA also maintains that the requested records are exempt from required disclosure under 1-19(b)(9), G.S., and argues that since this contested case will be determinative of the legal rights, duties and privileges of the TEA in regard to its collective bargaining activities, the TEA should be made a party to the proceedings.


            6.         Section 1-19(b)(9), G.S., provides in relevant part:


                        Nothing in sections 1-15, 1-18a, 1-19 to 1-19b, inclusive, and 1-21 to 1-21k, inclusive, shall be construed to require disclosure of ... (9) records, reports and statements of strategy or negotiations with respect to collective bargaining ....


            7.         It is found that all of the requested records are in the custody of the respondent.


            8.         It is found that two of the requested records, the TEA's first request (described in paragraph 3.a, above) and the TEA's last and final request (described in paragraph 3.c, above), originated with the TEA and were received by the respondent.


            9.         It is concluded that, if the records are not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(9), G.S., the TEA has no standing under the Freedom of Information Act to prevent their disclosure.


            10.       It is also concluded that, if the records are permissibly exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(9), G.S.,  that section vests discretion as to the disclosure of the records solely with the public agency which has custody of the records.


            11.       It is therefore concluded that a public agency may permissibly disclose records subject to 1-19(b)(9), G.S., notwithstanding an objection by a union with which an agency has bargained.


            12.       It is also concluded that an agency's rights and obligations to disclose or withhold records pursuant to 1-19(b)(9), G.S., are independent of any rights and obligations of either the agency or the union to bargain.


            13.       It is therefore concluded that, regardless of whether the disputed records are or are not exempt from disclosure, the TEA has no rights or privileges with respect to their disclosure.


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            14.       It is further concluded that no legal rights, duties or privileges of the TEA are determined in this contested case involving the applicability of 1-19(b)(9), G.S.


            15.       The motion of the TEA to be made a party in this proceeding is therefore denied.


            16.       At the hearing on this matter, the complainant indicated that his August 2, 1991 request had been satisfied with respect to the records described in paragraphs 3.e, 3.f, and 3.g, above.


            17.       It is found that the documents described in paragraphs 3.a through 3.d, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.


            18.       It is found that the respondent and the TEA reached agreement on a contract while their dispute was subject to arbitration but before the issuance of an arbitrator's award.


            19.       It is found that, the respondent and the TEA having reached mutual agreement on the contracts offered and accepted by the parties, the "last best offers" of the respondent and the TEA are in fact the contracts covering the years 1985-1988 and 1989-1992.


            20.       It is also found that the respondent provided the complainant with copies of the contracts referenced in paragraph 19, above.


            21.       It is concluded that the respondent provided the complainant with copies of the records described in paragraphs 3.c and 3.d, above.


            22.       With respect to the records described in paragraphs 3.a and 3.b, above, it is found that these records of the parties' original requests and offers embody the negotiating posture of each side at the outset of the negotiations.


            23.       It is concluded, therefore, that the records described in paragraphs 3.a and 3.b, above, are records of negotiation with respect to collective bargaining within the meaning of 1-19(b)(9), G.S., and that the respondent did not violate the Freedom of Information Act by declining to disclose them.


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


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            1.         The complaint is dismissed.


Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 27, 1992.



                                    Karen J.Haggett

                                    Clerk of the Commission


Docket #FIC 91-256                           Page 4





Mr. Fred Radford

135 Pinewood Trail

Trumbull, CT  06611


Donald Strickland, Esq.

Siegel, O'Connor, Schiff

370 Asylum Street

Hartford, CT  06103


William J. Dolan

21 Oak Street

Suite 500

Hartford, CT  06106-8001



                                    Karen J.Haggett

                                    Clerk of the Commission