FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-592
July 23, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by Francine Karp, Complainant
against
Mayor, City of Bristol; Director of Personnel, City of Bristol; and Dennis Daigneault Respondents

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 22, 1997, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The caption has been amended and restated to conform with the granting of party status to Dennis Daigneault as a respondent.

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

1. The respondents, Mayor, City of Bristol, and Director of Personnel, City of Bristol, (the "Bristol respondents") are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letter dated November 15, 1996, the complainant requested of the respondent Mayor that she receive copies of the respondent Daigneault’s personnel file at the Bristol Police Department, where he is currently employed, and also all records relating to an internal investigation at the Glastonbury Police Department concerning the complainant and the respondent Daigneault.

3. By letter dated November 27, 1996, following an earlier acknowledgment letter of November 19, 1996, the respondent Director of Personnel informed the complainant that he was declining to furnish her with copies of records described at paragraph 2, above, because the respondent Daigneault had objected to their release pursuant to 1-20a, G.S., on the ground that their release would constitute an invasion of his personal privacy.

4. By letter filed with the Commission on December 10, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the Bristol respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by declining to furnish her with copies of the records that she had requested.

5. Section 1-19(b)(2), G.S., provides that a public agency need not disclose "personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy".

6. In Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158, 175 (1993), the Supreme Court set forth the test for the exemption contained in 1-19(b)(2), G.S. The claimant must first establish that the files in question are personnel, medical or similar files. Second, the claimant must show that disclosure of the records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy. In determining whether disclosure would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, the claimant must establish both of two elements: first, that the information sought does not pertain to legitimate matters of public concern, and second, that such information is highly offensive to a reasonable person.

7. It is found that the requested records, which were submitted for in camera inspection, constitute personnel or similar files within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

8. It is also found that the information contained in the requested records does pertain to legitimate matters of public concern, including the public’s ability to evaluate the actions of the leadership of the Glastonbury Police Department with reference to the subject of sexual harassment.

9. Consequently, it is concluded that the requested records are not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(2), G.S. and are subject to mandatory disclosure pursuant to 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 Bristol respondents shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of all records described at paragraph 2 of the findings, above.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 23, 1997.

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission

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:
Francine Karp
41 Wapping Avenue
South Windsor, CT 06074

Mayor, City of Bristol; Director of Personnel, City of Bristol; and Dennis Daigneault
c/o Dean B. Kilbourne, Esq.
Assistant Corporation Counsel
111 North Main Street
Bristol, CT 06010

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-592/FD/eal/beh/08011997