FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Marie Galat,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-321
Personnel Director, Board of Education,
Bristol Public Schools; and Board of
Education, Bristol Public Schools,
Respondents April 28, 1999

         The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 12, 1999, 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, prior to September 12, 1998, the complainant requested and received copies of the contents of her personnel file.

        3. It is found that, believing the file to be incomplete, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with a copy of her "complete and true personnel file," by letter dated September 12, 1998.

        4. By letter dated September 17, 1998, the respondents informed the complainant that she was in receipt of such contents, and that they were unsure as to what other records she was seeking. It is found that, by such letter, the respondents acknowledged the likelihood that other records related to the complainant were maintained by the respondents, and asked the complainant to be more descriptive as to the type of information sought so that they might efficiently retrieve such records.

        5. Rather than reply to the respondents, by letter dated October 7, 1998, and filed October 9, 1998, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her a copy of her "complete and true personnel file."

        6. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-19(a), G.S.

        7. It is found that the complainant has been given access to her personnel file, and all of its contents, and that such access is not at the heart of the complainant’s complaint.

        8. Rather, it is found that what the complainant actually sought by her letter described in paragraph 3, above, were copies of all records not held within her personnel file which related to her employment.

        9. However, it is found that the request letter described in paragraph 3, above, was unclear as to the records sought and it is further found that the respondents’ reply, as described in paragraph 4, above, was a reasonable response to such letter.

        10. It is found that, subsequent to the filing of the complaint in this matter, by letter dated December 14, 1998, the complainant expanded her request to include "all documents in the Bristol Board of Education System that relate to" the complainant.

        11. However, it is concluded that such expanded and descriptive request is outside the scope of the complaint in this matter, and that therefore, such request will not be addressed herein.

 

It is concluded that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the respondents did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint.


        The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

        1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

        2. The complainant is encouraged to work with the respondents in the future when making a request for records in order to avoid needless and costly hearings at this commission.

  

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 28, 1999.

 

_________________________

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:

 

Marie V. Galat
516 Brook Street
Bristol, CT 06010
Personnel Director,
Board of Education,
Bristol Public Schools;
and Board of Education,
Bristol Public Schools
c/o Atty. Anne H. Littlefield
Shipman & Goodwin
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103-2819
 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-321FD/mrb04301999