FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Scott Clark, Amy Kertesz and
the Ridgefield Police Union,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-111
Jeanne Hofmann, Personnel Director, Town
of Ridgefield; Jay Wahlberg, Controller,
Town of Ridgefield; John Mannuzza,
Assistant Controller, Town of Ridgefield; and
the Town of Ridgefield
Respondents November 18, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 11 and 
September 28, 1998 at which time the complainants and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.
	2.  It is found that the complainants, by letter dated February 9, 1998 requested 
that respondent Hofmann, provide them with:
a.  a list of all nonunion town employees who have received 
compensation beyond salaries, such as compensation for 
meritorious performance or bonuses and the amount paid to 
each such employee for the fiscal years 1994, 1995, 1996 
and paid, or to be paid in 1997; and
b.  the performance or other criteria used to determine 
which town employees were eligible for meritorious 
performance or bonuses for the years specified in a) above.
	3.  It is found that by letter dated February 10, 1998, respondent Hoffman 
informed the complainants that “such a list would be a part of the town’s payroll records 
and the Finance Director, Jay Wahlberg, has requested that you contact him directly.”
	4.  It is found that the complainants, by letter dated February 16, 1998, then made 
a request to respondent Wahlberg for the records described in paragraph 2, above.
	5.  It is found that respondent Wahlberg, by letter dated February 20, 1998, 
acknowledged receipt of the request, and advised the complainants that information 
regarding the criteria used to determine “additional compensation” is available from 
payroll records and that they could seek such information by making an appointment with 
the Assistant Town Controller, John Mannuzza.  Respondent Wahlberg’s February 20, 
1998 letter did not address the complainants request for a list of town employees, as 
described in paragraph 2a, above.
	6.  It is found that by letter dated February 26, 1998, the complainants then made 
a third request for the records described in paragraph 2, above, this time directing their 
request to respondent Mannuzza.
	7.  It is found that by letter dated March 3, 1998, respondent Wahlberg 
acknowledged receipt of the request, and advised them that the list requested “is not a 
report that our department normally prepares in its day to day activities.  To generate a 
report of this type would require departmental personnel additional time to perform 
research and analytical procedures necessary to provide the required listing and data.”  
Wahlberg again invited them to make an appointment to see respondent Mannuzza.
	8.  It is found that on April 17, 1998, the complainants visited respondent 
Mannuzza’s office, at which time they were provided with a work station, and given a 
box of records to search through.  The complainants were also directed to certain filing 
cabinets in order for them to search for the requested records.  The complainants were 
also told that additional records were possibly being stored on microfilm.
	9.  By letter of complaint dated April 18, 1998 and filed with the Commission on 
April 27, 1998, the complainants appealed to the Commission alleging that the 
respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying them access to the 
requested records.
	10.  Section 1-18a(5), G.S., provides:
"Public records or files" means any 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.
	11.  Section 1-19(a), G.S., further provides, in relevant part:
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.
	12.  It is found that the respondents maintained records responsive to the 
complainants’ request.  Specifically, the respondents maintained a November 14, 1996 
memorandum from Hofmann to Bivona, a June 11, 1997 memorandum from former First 
Selectman Sue Manning to Hofmann and a January 13, 1998 memorandum from 
Hofmann to Matthews.
	13.  It is found that the respondents do not maintain any records responsive to the 
complainants’ request for criteria used to determine bonuses as described in paragraph 2b, 
above.
	14.  It is concluded that the memoranda described in paragraph 12, above, are 
public records within the meaning of 1-18a(5) and 1-19(a), G.S.
	15.  It is concluded that the respondents failed to promptly provide the 
complainants with a copy of the memoranda described in paragraph 12, above, and 
consequently violated 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.
	16.  It is found that the violation, described in paragraph 15, above, was without 
reasonable grounds.
	17.  It also found that the officials directly responsible for the violation, described 
in paragraph 15, above, are respondents Hofmann and Wahlberg.  Respondent Hofmann 
indicated at the September 28, 1998 hearing that although she had records that were 
responsive to the complainants’ request she withheld such records because she felt they 
contained inaccurate information.  It is also found that contrary to respondent Wahlberg’s 
explanation in his March 3, 1998 response to the complainant, no research was required 
in order to provide the complainants with the memoranda described in finding 12, above.  
At minimum, the respondents, could have and should have searched their records to 
locate the memoranda.
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1.  Forthwith, respondents Hofmann and Wahlberg shall each remit to this 
Commission a civil penalty in the amount of $25.00.
	2.  The Commission notes that respondents Hofmann and Wahlberg engaged in a 
pattern of delay that frustrated the complainants and effectively denied them meaningful 
and prompt access to public records.
	3.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the disclosure 
requirements of 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.
	4.  With respect to the complainants’ request for criteria used to determine 
meritorious performance or bonuses, the complaint is dismissed.


Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of 
November 18, 1998.

_________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
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:
Scott Clark, Amy Kertesz and
the Ridgefield Police Union
c/o Atty. Susan E. Craig
61 Lee Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Jeanne Hofmann, Personnel 
Director, Town of Ridgefield; 
Jay Wahlberg, Controller, Town 
of Ridgefield; John Mannuzza,
Assistant Controller, Town of 
Ridgefield; and the Town of 
Ridgefield
c/o Atty. Allen Kerr, Jr.
Office of the Town Attorney
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Jeanne Hofmann
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Jay Wahlberh
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
John Mannuzza
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1998-111FD/mrb11201998