OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Susan G. Kniep,
Docket #FIC 2000-589
April 11, 2001
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested
case on November 30, 2000, 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:
The respondent is a
public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1),
It is found that on
October 20, 2000, and again on October 23, 2000, the complainant submitted a
request to the respondent for copies of any and all applications submitted by
Gary LeBeau that were on file with East Hartford Board of Education and
documentation reflecting how Mr. LeBeau’s listing of “sex” as a hobby
was addressed by the administration and/or board of education upon the hiring
of Mr. LeBeau (hereinafter “the requested records”).
It is found that by
letter dated October 24, 2000, the respondent informed the complainant that
“we do not comment on personnel matters.”
By e-mail dated and
filed on October 30, 2000, the
complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated
the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide her with the
Section 1-210(a), G.S.,
provides in relevant part that:
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.
Section 1-212(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
. . . .”
It is found that the
requested records are public records within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S.
At the hearing on
this matter, the complainant informed this Commission that on October 26,
2000, the respondent provided her with a copy of an application of Mr. LeBeau
dated July 29, 1978, which contains a reference to sex as a hobby, but that
she had not received any documentation regarding how the board of education
had addressed such reference.
The complainant also claimed that the application she received is
different from an application that a reporter showed her shortly before she
made her request of October 20, 2000.
It is found that Mr.
LeBeau’s personnel file is maintained in the human resource department of
the East Hartford Public Schools and that no other office maintains files
pertaining to personnel matters.
It is found that upon
receiving the complainant’s request, the respondent forwarded the request to
the human resource department, which conducted a search for any records
responsive to the complainant’s request.
It is found that each
page of Mr. LeBeau’s personnel file, which dates back to 1973, was reviewed
by Mr. Corso of the human resource department and that no other applications
were found nor were any documents pertaining to Mr. LeBeau’s hobbies found.
It is found that an
exhaustive search was conducted and that no other documents responsive to the
complainant’s request exist.
It is therefore
concluded that the respondent did not violate the disclosure provisions of
§1-210(a) or §1-212(a), G.S.
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. Although the complaint in this matter is dismissed, the Commission strongly encourages the respondent to, in the future, provide direct and non-elusive responses to records requests. If the respondent had provided a more direct response in this case, the need for a hearing may have been avoided.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 11, 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:
Susan G. Kniep
50 Olde Roberts Street
East Hartford, CT 06108
Superintendent of Schools
East Hartford Public Schools
c/o Richard A. Mills, Jr., Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103-2819
Petrea A. Jones
Acting Clerk of the Commission