OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Randal Edgar and Waterbury Republican-American,
Docket #FIC 2000-501
Superintendent of Schools,
March 28, 2001
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 4, 2000 before hearing officer Barbara E. Housen, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. Prior to adjourning the hearing, the parties agreed that the respondent would, on October 10, 2000, submit to the Commission for in camera review a sample of the types of records at issue in the complaint, following which the hearing officer will consider whether the hearing should be continued to October 20 or October 25, 2000 for the taking of further evidence. A continued hearing was heard on October 20, 2000, before hearing officer Mary E. Schwind, at which time the complainants and the respondent again 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 §1-200(1), G.S.
2. It is found that by letter
dated August 3, 2000, the complainants requested that the respondent provide
them with copies of the following records pertaining to the recent hiring of
principals and middle school house principal:
cover letters, resumes and other
documents submitted by applicants for current openings for principals;
score sheets used to grade the
applicants during their interviews; and
all advertisements for the vacant
is found that by letter dated August 28, 2000, the complainants further
requested that the respondent provide them with a copy of the following:
score sheets used to assess or grade
this year’s middle school house principal applicants during their interviews
with school officials;
any forms, letters or documents
indicating the ranking of this year’s middle school house principal
applicants after their interviews with school officials; and
any forms, letters or documents
indicating the ranking of this year’s head principal applicants after their
interviews with school officials.
3. It is found that, by letter
dated August 9, 2000, the respondent informed the complainants that records
responsive to the request as described in paragraph 2i) above, were being
gathered and would be disclosed with redactions, records responsive to the
request as described in paragraph 2ii) above, were not being provided based on
a claim of exemption pursuant to §1-210(b)(6), G.S., and that records
responsive to the request as described in paragraph 2iii) above, were
4. It is found that, following
discussions with the complainants regarding the respondent’s §1-210(b)(6),
G.S., claim of exemption for “score sheets”, the respondent again advised
the complainants that such records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to
§1-210(b)(6), G.S., by letter dated August 28, 2000.
5. It is also found that the
respondent, by letter dated August 29, 2000, responded to the complainant’s
request as described in paragraph 2iv), 2v) and 2vi), above, advising them
that score sheets and documents indicating ranking of candidates would not be
disclosed based on a claim of exemption pursuant to §1-210(b)(6), G.S.
6. Having failed to receive all
of the requested records, the complainants, by letter of complaint dated
September 8, 2000, and filed on September 11, 2000, appealed to the
commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”)
Act by denying them copies of the requested records 2ii), 2iv), 2v), and 2vi).
The complainants asked that a civil penalty be imposed upon the
7. On brief, and at the October 20, 2000, hearing in this matter, the complainants contended that the only records remaining at issue in this complaint are: the scores assigned by interviewers to each candidate [hereinafter “scores”], and the ranking of the candidates [hereinafter “ranking”]. Accordingly, the complaint herein is so limited.
8. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part 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 receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
9. Section 1-212(a), G.S., further provides in relevant part: “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record…”
It is concluded that the scores and ranking are public records within
the meaning of §§1-200(5)
and 1-210(a), G.S.
11. The respondent submitted a sample of the records containing
the scores and ranking for in camera review.
For identification purposes, the in camera records have
been designated IC2000-501-1, which contains the ranking and scores, and
IC2000-501-2, which contains the scores.
12. The respondent contends that
the scores and ranking are exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of §1-210(b)(6),
13. Section 1-210(b)(6), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of “test
questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer a
licensing examination, examination for employment or academic examinations.”
14. After careful review of the in camera records, it is concluded that the scores contained in IC2000-501-1 and IC2000-501-2 constitute examination data used to administer an examination for employment within the meaning of §1-210(b)(6), G.S., and Patricia Washington, Personnel Director of the City of Hartford v. Freedom of Information Commission, No. CV98 0492644S, Sup. Ct., Judicial District of New Britain (Hartmere, J.) (Aug. 31, 1999) [hereinafter “Washington”], and that, therefore, such records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to such provision.
15. It is further concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act as alleged in the complaint when he failed to disclose the scores of the applicants for the principal positions contained in IC2000-501-1 and IC2000-501-2.
16. It is also concluded that the ranking of applicants and their names do not constitute examination data used to administer an examination for employment within the meaning of §1-210(b)(6), G.S. and Washington, and that, therefore, such records are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to such provision.
17. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated the FOI Act as alleged in the complaint when he failed to disclose the ranking and names of the applicants for the principal positions contained in IC2000-501-1.
18. It is concluded that the imposition of a civil penalty is not warranted in this matter.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. Forthwith, the respondent shall provide the complainants with a redacted copy of IC2000-501-1, consisting of the ranking and the names of the applicants for the principal positions.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 28, 2001.
Petrea A. Jones
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:
Randal Edgar and Waterbury
c/o Thomas G. Parisot, Esq.
Secor, Cassidy & McPartland, PC
41 Church Street, PO Box 2818
Waterbury, CT 06723-2818
Paul Sequeira, Superintendent of Schools
Waterbury Public Schools
c/o Dan Shaban, Esq.
Office of Corporation Counsel
236 Grand Street
Waterbury, CT 06702
Petrea A. Jones
Acting Clerk of the Commission