FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Barry L. Natale,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1997-353
Director of Human Resources,
City of Stamford,
Respondents July 22, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 29, 1998, 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
	2.   By letter dated October 20, 1997, the complainant requested that the respondent 
provide him with the following:
a.  “Certified copies of all employer references collected 
from [his] past and present employers”; and
b.  Certified copies of all personal references collected 
subsequent to [his] application for employment.”
	3.   Having failed to receive a response to his request, the complainant appealed to this 
Commission by letter dated November 4, 1997 and filed November 5, 1997.
	4.   It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-
18a(4) and 1-19(a), G.S.
	5.   Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:
[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, 
all records maintained…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…hours or to receive a 
copy of such records… in accordance with the provisions of 
section 1-15….
	6.   Section 1-15(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:  
[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon 
request, a plain or certified copy of any public record….  
	7.   It is found that the complainant had been a candidate for employment with the 
Stamford Police Department in 1996.
	8.   It is further found that the complainant signed a “background information waiver” 
(hereinafter “waiver”) on April 27, 1996, in which he agreed to waive all rights to review any 
written background investigation files related to him.  It is also found that, although it was not 
signed by a representative of the City of Stamford, the waiver stated that the city agreed not to 
reveal to others background information related to the complainant without the complainant’s 
prior written consent.  
	9.   The respondent contends that the complainant is precluded from pursuing this 
complaint by virtue of the waiver described in paragraph 8, above, and that the Commission has 
no authority to nullify such waiver.  The respondent also contends that the persons contacted as 
employer and personal references provided information to the city in reliance on the fact that 
such information would not be shared with the complainant, and further contends that an order to 
disclose such information would have a chilling effect on the city’s ability to obtain honest 
assessments of employment applicants in the future.
	10.  It is found that the city was without authority to place the condition on release of 
public records, as described in paragraph 8, above, since an agency cannot shield public records 
from disclosure simply by giving assurances of confidentiality.  Kuresczka v. Freedom of 
Information Commission, 228 Conn. 271, 280, 277 (1994).  Therefore, it is concluded that the 
waiver described in paragraph 8, above, does not preclude the complainant from pursuing this 
complaint.  
	11.  It is found that the respondent failed to prove that any federal law or state statute 
provides a basis to withhold the records described in paragraph 2, above, and it is therefore 
concluded that the respondent violated 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., by failing to promptly 
provide certified copies of such records to the complainant.
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the 
record concerning the above-captioned complaint: 
	1.  The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with certified copies of the 
records described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above, without charge.
	2.  Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-19(a) and 
1-15(a), G.S. 

	Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of 
July 22, 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:
Barry L. Natale
P.O. Box 1383
Stamford, CT 06904-1383
Director of Human Resources, City of Stamford
c/o Atty. Barry J. Boodman
Assistant Corporation Counsel
888 Washington Boulevard
P.O. Box 10152
Stamford, CT 06904-2152

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1997-353/FD/tcg/07291998