Freedom of Information Commission

of the State of Connecticut



In the Matter of a Complaint by                                    Final Decision


Magaly Guevara-Carter,




            against                                                              Docket #FIC 95-293


New Haven Personnel Director, and

New Haven Civil Service Commission,


                        Respondents                                         July 10, 1996



            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 13, 1996 , at which time the complainant appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint, but the respondents failed to appear.


            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 dated August 4, 1995, the complainant requested that Mark Shiffren of the respondent commission provide her with her score on the police department civil service examination, which she took in New Haven on November 19, 1994 (hereinafter “the examination”).


            3.  By letter dated August 18 and filed August 21, 1995, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide her with records containing her examination score.


            4.  It is found that in December 1994, the complainant received a letter from the respondent civil service commission stating that she had failed the examination, but the letter did not contain the complainant’s numerical score on the examination.


            5.  It is found that after receiving the letter described in paragraph 4, above, the complainant immediately telephoned the respondent commission’s office seeking to obtain her score, and was informed by an employee of the respondent commission that she could not get her score, but she would be entitled to a review of her examination in January 1995.


            6.  It is found that in January 1995, the complainant again sought to obtain her score, and was informed by another employee of the respondent commission that she would neither get her score on the examination, nor would she be entitled to a review of her examination.


            7.  It is found that the complainant pursued her request in at least twenty phone calls to the respondent commission, and was given the following responses at various times:  a) no numerical scores exist because the tests were graded on a pass/fail basis; b) the test records were destroyed; and c) she is not entitled to receive her test score.


            8.  It is found that another individual sitting for the same examination at the same location as the complainant, but whose scores were applied to police department applications in both New Haven and the town of Windsor, did receive a numerical score for his examination.


            9.  It is therefore found that the examination grades were based upon numerical scores.


            10.  It is found that any records maintained by the respondent commission which contain the complainant’s examination score are public records within the meaning of §§1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.


            11.  It is found that the complainant’s August 4, 1995 letter of request was never responded to; and neither was a follow-up letter sent by the complainant to the respondent commission in September 1995.


            12.  It is found that the respondent commission, having failed to appear at the scheduled hearing on this matter, failed to prove any exemption to disclosure of the requested records containing the complainant’s score.


            13.  It is therefore concluded that by failing to provide the complainant with any records containing her examination score, the respondent commission violated the provisions of §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 complaint is hereby dismissed with respect to the respondent personnel director, as he apparently had no direct involvement in the underlying facts of this case.


            2.  The respondent commission shall provide the complainant with any records containing her examination score on the November 1994 police department examination, by mail, without charge, within one week of the mailing of the notice of final decision in this matter.


            2.  If the respondent commission claims that no records of the complainant’s examination score exist, it shall execute an affidavit indicating the nature and extent of their search, and if such records were destroyed, when, how, and by whom.  The respondent commission shall provide the complainant and the Commission with such affidavit within one week of the mailing of the notice of final decision in this matter.


            3.  Henceforth, the respondent commission shall strictly comply with the provisions of §1-19(a), G.S.


            4.  If the affidavit described in paragraph 2 of the order, above, reveals that the requested records were destroyed, the respondent commission is advised to consult the state Public Records Administrator to ensure its compliance with the retention and destruction statutes and schedules applicable to public records.


            5.  Finally, the Commission admonishes the respondent commission for being entirely uncooperative with, and unresponsive to, the complainant:  Its inaction and insouciance exemplifies not only bad judgment, but bad government.



Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 10, 1996.





                                                                Elizabeth A. Leifert

                                                                Acting Clerk of the Commission






Magaly Guevara-Carter

140 Thompson Street

Unit 12/F

East Haven, CT 06512


New Haven Personnel Director and New Haven Civil Service Commission

  c/o   Steven L. Samalot, Esq.

          Assistant Corporation Counsel

          165 Church Street

          New Haven, CT 06510






Elizabeth A. Leifert

Acting Clerk of the Commission