FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
against Docket #FIC 93-25
Meriden Personnel Director,
Respondent October 13, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 1, 1993, 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. It is found that in paragraph one of a letter dated December 28, 1992 ("December request"), the complainant requested that the respondent answer questions relating to the hiring procedures for police officers in Meriden.
3. In paragraph two of her December request, the complainant requested a copy of the original eligibility list for police officer, indicating each individual's standing or ranking, for the period December 1988 through December 1990.
4. The respondent neither responded to, nor complied with the December request.
5. By letter filed with the Commission on January 29, 1993 ("January letter"), the complainant sought the Commission's assistance and intervention in light of the respondent's failure to respond or comply.
6. The respondent made a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that the complainant failed to file an appeal in a timely manner, as mandated by 1-21i(b), G.S.
Docket #FIC 93-25 Page 2
7. Section 1-21i(b), G.S., in relevant part states that:
Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records ... may appeal therefrom to the [Commission], by filing a notice of appeal within thirty days after such denial....
8. The respondent concedes that he failed to respond to the complainant's December request within four business days and such failure constituted a denial under 1-21i(a), G.S.
9. The respondent argues, however, that the complainant's January letter, although timely filed, did not constitute a notice of appeal for purposes of 1-21i(b), G.S.
10. The respondent also argues that it was the complainant's February 5, 1993, telephone conversation with, and oral request to, the acting clerk of the Commission to schedule a hearing on her complaint which triggered 1-21i(b), G.S., thirty-two days after the denial.
11. It is found that the complainant's January letter, which was sent to the Commission with a copy of her December request enclosed, was sufficient to establish both the request for a record from a public agency, and the denial of a right conferred by the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act.
12. It is therefore concluded that the complainant's January letter read in conjunction with the December request were sufficient to establish the Commission's jurisdiction in this matter on January 29, 1993.
13. It is found that paragraph one of the December request is a request seeking answers to questions rather than access to records and therefore does not fall within the provisions of the FOI Act.
14. It is found that the records requested in paragraph two of the December request are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
15. The complainant concedes that on or about May 26, 1993, the respondent provided her with a copy of the certified eligibilty list for the period in question.
Docket #FIC 93-25 Page 3
16. The complainant also concedes that on or about June 7, 1993, the respondent provided her with a copy of a list which included the name and the ranking of all persons certified eligible to become police officers for the period in question ("rank order list").
17. The complainant objected to the form of the rank order list and the respondent's failure to include the test scores of each candidate on the rank order list.
18. It is found that the complainant never requested that the respondent provide her with the test scores of each of the candidates, only the "...individual's standing or position that was determined from the results of the testing process."
19. It is also found that the respondent created the rank order list in order to comply with the complainant's request, and no other document exists that would be responsive to the complainant's records request.
20. The respondent concedes that he failed to comply promptly with the complainant's records request.
21. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated the promptness provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent's motion to dismiss is hereby denied.
2. Henceforth the respondent shall fully comply with the promptness provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
3. The Commission notes that nothing in the FOI Act requires that a letter of complaint or notice of appeal contain particular language or exist in a particular form.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 13, 1993.
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 93-25 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 CARE ARE:
148 Wall Street
Meriden, CT 06450
MERIDEN PERSONNEL DIRECTOR
c/o Christopher P. Hankins, Esq.
Department of Law
142 East Main Street
Meriden, CT 06450
Acting Clerk of the Commission