FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Scott Clark, Amy Kertesz, Michael Gates
and the Ridgefield Police Union,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-232
First Selectman, Town of Ridgefield
and Town of Ridgefield,
Respondents November 18, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 28 and 
November 2, 1998 at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, 
stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the 
complaint.  Sixteen town of Ridgefield employees whose performance appraisals are at 
issue object to disclosure of such records.  The objecting employees were granted party 
status pursuant to 1-21i(b)(2), G.S.  They are:  Charles Fisher, Gary Boughton, Edward 
Briggs, H. Barbara Hock, Marjorie Tippet, Mary Brosius, Richard Baldell, Oswald 
Inglese, Dana Moody, Mary Ann Baldwin, Carole Konner, Jerry Gay, R. John 
Mannuzza, Jay Wahlberg, Jeanne Hoffman and Francis Oldham.
	After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and 
conclusions of law are reached:
	1.  The respondent first selectman is a public agency within the meaning of 1-
18a(1), G.S.
	2.  It is found that by letter dated July 9, 1998, the complainants requested that the 
respondent first selectman provide them with the following records:
a.  a list of all non-union town employees and their most 
current performance appraisals; and
b.  the performance appraisals for the above employees for 
fiscal years 1993, 94, 95, 96 and 97.
	3.  It is found that by letter dated July 13, 1998, the town of Ridgefield’s (“town”) 
personnel director denied the request claiming that disclosure of the requested 
performance appraisals would reasonably constitute an invasion of the employees’ 
privacy under 1-20a, G.S.
	4.  Having failed to receive the requested records the complainants, by letter dated 
August 7, 1998 and filed on August 10, 1998 appealed to the Commission alleging that 
the respondent denied them a copy of the requested records.
	5.  It is found that the records at issue are town employee personnel appraisals or 
evaluations, which records are maintained by the town’s personnel director.
	6.  Section 1-18a(5), G.S., provides that: “[p]ublic 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.
	7.  Section 1-19(a), G.S., further provides that:
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.
	8.  It is concluded that the appraisals/evaluations at issue are public records within 
the meaning of 1-18a(5) and 1-19(a), G.S.
	9.  Some town employees whose appraisals/evaluations are at issue do not object 
to the disclosure of such information.  Consequently, pursuant to 1-20a(c), G.S., the 
respondents are required to disclose the appraisals/evaluations of those employees who 
do not object to disclosure, after having provided such employees with an opportunity to 
object to the release of such information.
	10.  It is found that at present only the sixteen employees, named herein, object to 
the release of their appraisals/evaluations.
	11.  The respondent and the sixteen employees who object to disclosure of the 
appraisals/evaluations contend that 1-19(b)(2), G.S., exempts such evaluations from 
disclosure.
	12.  Section 1-19(b)(2), G.S., permits nondisclosure of “[p]ersonnel or medical 
files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal 
privacy.”
	13.  Pursuant to Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158 
(1993) , the appropriate test when examining a claim of exemption under 1-19(b)(2), 
G.S., is as follows, first the information sought must constitute “personnel or medical 
files and similar files” and second, two elements must be met: the information sought 
does not pertain to legitimate matters of public concern, and such information is highly 
offensive to a reasonable person.
	14.  The respondent provided the Commission with the appraisals/evaluations of 
the sixteen employees who object to disclosure as well as the evaluations of employees 
who do not object to disclosure.  All the evaluations received by the Commission were 
reviewed in camera.
	15.  It is found that the evaluations constitute personnel files within the meaning 
of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
	16.  It is also found that the evaluations pertain to legitimate matters of public 
concern.
	17.  It is further found that nothing contained in the evaluations if disclosed would 
be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
	18.  It is therefore, concluded that the evaluations are not exempt from disclosure 
pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
	19.  It is also found that the respondents’ failure to comply with the Commission’s 
August 31, 1998 order to notify the town employees of the September 28, 1998 in this 
matter is attributable to the town’s legal counsel.  Such failure necessitated a delay in this 
Commission’s proceedings and required the convening of a further hearing on November 
2, 1998.
	20.  The Commission in its discretion, however, does not deem a civil penalty 
warranted in this case.
	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 complainants with a copy of the 
personnel evaluations of the non-union employees, responsive to the complainants’ 
request as described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above.
	2.  With respect to the evaluations of those employees who do not object to 
disclosure, and as described in paragraph 9 of the findings, above, the respondents had no 
justification for their failure to promptly provide the complainants with a copy of such 
evaluations.

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, 
Michael Gates and the 
Ridgefield Police Union
c/o Atty. Susan E. Craig
61 Lee Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877
First Selectman, Town of
Ridgefield,and Town of
Ridgefield
c/o Atty. Allen Kerr, Jr.
Office of the Town Attorney
400 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Charles R. Fisher
66 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Gary Boughton
66 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Edward L. Briggs
66 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
H. Barbara Hock
66 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Marjorie Tippet
66 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Oswald Inglese
66 Prospect Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and 
Dana Moody
38 Bob Hill Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Mary Ann Baldwin
400 Main Street 
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Carole Konner
400 Main Street 
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Jerry Gay
400 Main Street 
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
John Mannuzza
400 Main Street 
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Jay Wahlberg
400 Main Street 
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Jeanne Hofmann
400 Main Street 
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Francis Oldham
400 Main Street 
Ridgefield, CT 06877
and
Mary C. Brosius
460 Milltown Road
Brewster, NY 10509
and 
Richard S. Baldell
32 Stony Hill Village
Brookfield, CT 06804

__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1998-232FD/mrb11231998