FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
against Docket #FIC 92-200
Mary Jo Kramer, Superintendent, Milford Public Schools,
Respondent April 28, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 8, 1993, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
At the hearing Greta Stanford and Frank Griffin, who are the subjects of some of the records at issue, were granted party status in accordance with the provisions of 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 is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter dated June 5, 1992, the complainant requested from the respondent access to files or any records regarding twenty-two specific items.
3. Having failed to receive a response to his June 5, 1992 letter, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated June 15, 1992, and filed with the Commission on June 16, 1992, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying him prompt access to records.
4. The complainant also requested that the Commission impose civil penalties upon the respondent.
5. It is found that prior to the hearing on this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with access to certain records that are responsive to a portion of the complainant's request for records.
6. Consequently, access to only the following records remain at issue:
a. records of the number of unused sick days accrued
Docket #FIC 92-200 Page 2
by Greta Stanford and Frank Griffin (two of the
respondent's employees), as of June 1, 1992;
b. records of the cost of the accrued sick leave
identified in paragraph 6a., above; and
c. records of the cost of computers, software,
tables, installation, maintenance, etc., used in
teacher preparation rooms.
7. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency...shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15.
8. Section 1-19(b)(2), G.S., provides in relevant part
that nothing in the Freedom of Information Act requires disclosure of "personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy."
9. It is found that by letter dated July 10, 1992, the respondent denied the complainant's request for records described in paragraph 6a. and 6b., above, claiming that the records were exempt and that Stanford and Griffen, objected to disclosure. In addition, the respondent denied the records described in paragraph 6c., above, claiming that they were not available in the form requested.
10. It is found that Stanford and Griffin objected to disclosure of the records described in paragraphs 6a. and 6b., above, on July 11, 1992.
11. At the hearing on this matter, both Stanford and Griffin testified that disclosure of the number of unused sick days accrued by them would invade their privacy by divulging the status of their health and medical history.
12. It is found that records of the number of unused sick days accrued by Stanford and Griffin exist, and are kept on cards, separate from employee personnel files.
13. It is also found that although the unused sick day information contained in these cards may be used for personnel purposes within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S., they also
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serve as records for payroll accounting purposes.
14. It is concluded that the respondent and the intervening parties have failed to prove that the number of unused sick day leave data requested is "personnel file" information within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
15. However, even if the requested number of unused sick day leave data were considered "personnel file" information, it is found that disclosure of such numerical data would reveal only attendance information, and not specific information regarding the reasons for absences.
16. It is therefore concluded that disclosure of the requested number of unused sick days accrued would not constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S., because their disclosure would not be embarrassing to a reasonable person, nor could there be a reasonable expectation of privacy in such data.
17. With respect to the request for records described in paragraph 6c., above, it is found that such records exist, and the respondent failed to prove that such records are exempt from disclosure.
18. It is therefore concluded that without reasonable grounds, the respondent violated the provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide the complainant with access to the records more fully described in paragraphs 6a.-6c., inclusive, above.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of all records as more particularly described in paragraphs 6a.-6c., inclusive, of the findings above.
2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the open records provisions of 1-15 and 1-19, G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 28, 1993.
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 92-200 Page 4
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:
88 West Main Street
Milford, CT 06460
Mary Jo Kramer, Superintendent, Milford Public Schools
c/o Atty. Stephen W. Studer
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.
75 Broad Street
Milfprd, CT 06460
Greta Stanford and Frank Griffin
c/o Atty. William J. Dolan
21 Oak Street, Suite 500
Hartford, CT 06106
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission