FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
James M. Eastwood,
against Docket #FIC 95-266
Fire Chief, Fairfield Fire Rescue,
Respondent June 26, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 8, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, 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 the complainant took Fairfield's oral and written examination for fire captain.
3. It is found that by electronic mail ("e-mail"), correspondence to the respondent beginning on or about May 12, 1995, the complainant requested copies of the following examination records: a) his test results and examiners' remarks, and b) the examination questions, model answers and scoring criteria ("May request").
4. It is found that on May 12, 1995, the respondent provided the complainant with access to the graders' handwritten remarks and some score tabulations relating to his examination.
5. It is found that by e-mail correspondence dated June 12, 1995, the complainant again asked that the respondent provide him with copies of all of the requested examination records.
6. It is found that by e-mail correspondence dated July 17, 1995, the respondent advised the complainant that he could "review [his] remarks at any time, but no copies could leave the office."
Docket #FIC 95-266 Page 2
7. By letter of complaint dated August 6, 1995 and filed with this Commission on August 10, 1995, the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to fully comply with his May request.
8. Section 1-18a(d), G.S., defines a "public record" as
any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, ...
9. It is found that the requested examination records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
10. The respondent claims that he never received a copy of the exam questions from the independent testing agency hired to create, administer and score the exam.
11. The respondent also maintains that there is neither a model answer document, nor one document containing scoring criteria since the criteria for what constituted a correct answer was derived from several sources listed in a bibliography that was provided to both the examiners and the exam applicants.
12. The respondent further claims that even if he had a copy of the requested test questions and scoring materials, 1-19(b)(6), G.S., would permit him to withhold disclosure of those records.
13. Section 1-19(b)(6), G.S., states in pertinent part that disclosure shall not be required of "test questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer a licensing examination, examination for employment or academic examination."
14. The Commission does not need to address the alternate grounds raised by the respondent for not providing the complainant with the requested examination questions since the record is not in the possession of the respondent.
15. With respect to the model answers record it is found that no such document exists.
16. With respect to scoring criteria other than the bibliography that was provided to each exam applicant, it is concluded that such information is used to administer and score an employment examination within the meaning of 1-19(b)(6), G.S., and is permissibly exempt from public disclosure.
Docket #FIC 95-266 Page 3
17. It is concluded that the respondent's failure to disclose the examination questions, model answers and scoring criteria in response to the complainant's May request did not violate 1-15 or 1-19(a), G.S.
18. At the hearing on this matter the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of his oral and written examination results. The oral exam results also contain the grader's remarks.
19. It is concluded that, under the circumstances of this case, the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of his oral and written exam results, and examiners' remarks.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Henceforth the respondent shall fully comply with the disclosure provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 26, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 95-266 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:
James M. Eastwood
41 Pepperbush Lane
Fairfield, CT 06430
Fire Chief, Fairfield Fire Rescue
c/o Michael P.A. Williams, Esq.
Marsh, Day and Calhoun
2507 Post Road
Southport, CT 06490-1259
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission