FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket #FIC 1998-053|
|Director of Human
of Legal Affairs, Human Resources
Division, City of Stamford; and Office
of Legal Affairs, Human Resources
Division, City of Stamford,
|Respondents||July 8, 1998|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 1, 1998 at which time the complainant and the respondents 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(1), G.S.
2. It is found that the complainant was a candidate for the position of police officer with the city of Stamford (position).
3. It is found that by letter dated December 16, 1997 the respondent director informed the complainant that as a result of her psychological evaluation she was not recommended for the position.
4. It is found that by letter dated December 20, 1997, the complainant requested that the respondent director provide her with a copy of the psychological evaluation and all documents in her file (hereinafter requested records).
5. It is found that by letter dated January 29, 1998, the respondent director informed the complainant that with her permission, a copy of the psychological evaluation would be released to a psychologist of her choice, and that she should advise him in writing to whom she wished the psychological evaluation sent. His response did not address the complainants request for a copy of the remaining records in her file.
6. Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated February 21, 1998 and filed on February 26, 1998 alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by denying her a copy of her personnel file.
7. Section 1-18a(5), G.S., defines public records as [a]ny recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
8. Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part, further provides:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15. Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void .
9. It is found that the respondents maintain the requested records, and such records are public records within the meaning of §§1-18a(5) and 1-19(a), G.S.
10. At the hearing on this matter, the respondents agreed to provide the complainant with a copy of all records contained in her file with the exception of a)certain background investigation records, for which she had signed a waiver, and b) the psychological evaluation.
11. The complainant is not seeking the background investigation records, described in paragraph 10) a), above. Consequently, the issues to be addressed in this appeal are the disclosure of the psychological evaluation and the timeliness of the respondents provision of access to the other records contained in the complainants file.
12. The respondents contend that the psychological evaluation constitutes examination data used to administer an examination for employment and is therefore, exempt pursuant to §1-19(b)(6), G.S. The respondents further contend that because the complainant had agreed that her exclusive remedy for any disagreement with the examiners about the conduct of the examination would be binding arbitration she relinquished her right to pursue an FOI appeal.
13. Section 1-19(b)(6), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of [t]est questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer a[n] examination for employment .
14. It is found that as part of the application process for police officer, applicants submit to a psychological test.
15. It is found that the psychological evaluation is a report generated after the psychological test was administered to the complainant. Such evaluation contains a discussion and analysis of the complainants responses to certain questions asked during the examination.
16. It is found that the psychological evaluation does not constitute data used to administer an examination for employment within the meaning of §1-19(b)(6), G.S.
17. It is therefore, concluded that the psychological evaluation is not exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-19(b)(6), G.S.
18. However, it is also concluded that to the extent that the psychological evaluation discloses examination questions, those questions are permissively exempt from disclosure as test questions within the meaning of §1-19(b)(6), G.S.
19. With respect to the respondents further claim that the complainants exclusive remedy for any disagreement with the examiners about the conduct of the examination is binding arbitration, it is found that the complainant has not presented any claim concerning the conduct of the examination to this Commission.
20. Section 1-19b(a)(2), G.S., requires that a public agency disclose information in its personnel files to the individual who is the subject of such information.
21. It is found that the psychological test given to the complainant is an integral part of the respondents hiring process.
22. It is found that in spite of the complainants lack of success in applying for a position with the Stamford police department, the records compiled in connection with the complainants application for employment constitute personnel file information within the meaning of 1-19b(a)(2), G.S.
23. It is therefore, concluded that the complainant, who is the subject of the psychological evaluation, is entitled to such evaluation within the meaning of §1- 19b(a)(2), G.S.
24. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondents violated §§1-15(a), 1-19(a) and 1-19b(a)(2), G.S., when they failed to provide the complainant with a copy of the psychological evaluation, and when they failed to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of the other records, contained in her file, which records they agreed to provide to her at the hearing.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Forthwith, the respondents shall provide the complainant with a copy of the psychological evaluation.
2. In complying with paragraph 1 of the order the respondents may redact only those portions of the psychological evaluation that specifically reveal test questions used in administering the examination.
3. Forthwith, the respondents shall provide the complainant with a copy of the remaining records in her file, which records they agreed to provide to her following the hearing in this matter.
4. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with §§1-15(a), 1-19(a) and 1-19b(a)(2), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 8, 1998.
_________________________ 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:
Anastasia DeLuca 411 Blohm Street West Haven, CT 06516
Director of Human Resources, Office of Legal Affairs, Human Resources Division, City of Stamford; and Office of Legal Affairs, Human Resources Division, City of Stamford c/o Atty. Barry Boodman Assistant Corporation Counsel 888 Washington Blvd. P.O. Box 10152 Stamford, CT 06904-2152
__________________________ Doris V. Luetjen Acting Clerk of the Commission