In the Matter of a Complaint by                        Final Decision


Vincent J. Lombardo,




            against              Docket #FIC 93-241


Newington Town Manager and Newington Senior and Disabled Center,


                        Respondents                 January 26, 1994


            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 23, 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


            2.         By letter of complaint June 29, 1993, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that his request for certain information and records had been denied.


            3.         It is found that the complainant made a written request on May 26, 1993 to the respondent town manager for:


                        a.         a list of names and addresses of the people who have lunch at the Newington senior center daily, and how much money they donate toward the meal; and


                        b.         a copy of the telephone log for the Dial-A-Ride program with the names, addresses and destinations of the people who use it.


            4.         It is found that the respondent town manager does not maintain any records that are responsive to the complainant's request.


            5.         It is also found that the town manager promptly forwarded the complainant's request to the director of the respondent senior and disabled center, and promptly notified the complainant that he had done so.


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            6.         It is concluded that the respondent town manager acted in a manner consistent with the spirit of the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act, and did not violate any provision of the Act.


            7.         It is found that the director of the respondent center in turn sought advice from the Community Renewal Team that operates the nutrition program, and the Greater Hartford Transit District, which provides the vehicles for the Dial-A-Ride program.


            8.         It is found that both the nutrition program and the Dial-A-Ride Program are funded pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3001 et seq., Programs for Older Americans, and operated under the jurisdiction of the state department on aging.


            9.         It is found that senior citizens who plan to eat lunch at the respondent center leave their names on the previous day.


            10.       It is found that the list of names is used to plan the number of meals for the next day, and is then destroyed.


            11.       It is found that no records are kept of the amount of donations by seniors eating at the program.


            12.       It is also found that the respondent maintains a dispatcher's log of people who use the Dial-A-Ride service, which contains the individual's names and addresses, their destinations, and other information.


            13.       It is found that the documents described in paragraphs 10 and 12, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.


            14.       It is found that the respondent senior and disabled center, by letter dated June 8, 1993, denied the complainant's request for information about individuals using the nutrition program, and indicated that the information concerning individuals using Dial-A-Ride would probably also not be available.


            15.       The complainant maintains that since the nutrition and Dial-A-Ride programs are funded by taxpayer dollars, he has a right to the information he seeks.


            16.       The complainant further maintains that individuals who can afford to pay for their own meals or rides are using the nutrition and Dial-A-Ride programs, and for that reason he has a right to the information he seeks.


            17.       The respondent maintains that the requested records are exempt from disclosure as personnel, medical or similar files pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), G.S.; as preliminary drafts


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pursuant to 1-19(b)(1), G.S.; and under federal law pursuant to 45 C.F.R. 1321.51(a).


            18.       Section 1-19(b)(2), G.S., provides that disclosure is not required of "personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy."


            19.       It is concluded that the information contained in the requested records is similar to that contained in personnel or medical files within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.


            20.       Part 1321 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Grants to State and Community Programs on Aging, sets forth state and area agency responsibilities with respect to the nutrition and Dial-A-Ride programs.


            21.       In particular, 45 C.F.R. 1321.51(a) provides:


                        A State agency shall have procedures to protect the confidentiality of information about older persons collected in the conduct of its responsibilities.  The procedures shall ensure that no information about an older person, or obtained from an older person by a service provider or the State or area agencies, is disclosed by the provider or agency in a form that identifies the person without the informed consent of the person or of his or her legal representative, unless the disclosure is required by court order, or for program monitoring by authorized Federal, State, or local monitoring agencies.


            22.       It is concluded that 45 C.F.R 1321.51(a) is a precondition on the granting of federal funds, and not in itself a mandatory prohibition against disclosure.


            23.       It is also concluded, however, that it is objectively reasonable for the senior citizens using the nutrition and Dial-A-Ride programs to expect that their identities would remain confidential.


            24.       It is therefore concluded that the requested records are permissibly exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), G.S., and that the respondent senior and disabled center did not violate 1-19(a), G.S.


            25.       In light of the conclusions in paragraph 24, above, it is unnecessary to address any additional claims of exemption.


            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 January 26, 1994.



                                                Elizabeth A. Leifert

                                                Acting Clerk of the Commission


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Mr. Vincent J. Lombardo

27 Highland Street

Newington, CT 06111


Newington Town Manager and Newington Senior and Disabled Center

c/o Steven M. Nassau, Esq.

Nassau, Borowy & Griffith

66 Cedar Street

Newington, CT 06111



                                                Elizabeth A. Leifert

                                                Acting Clerk of the Commission