FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Ken Byron and The Hartford Courant,

 

Complainants

 

 

against

Docket #FIC 2002-580

First Selectman, Town of Westbrook,

 

 

Respondent

September 10, 2003

 

 

 

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 13, 2003, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  Former town of Westbrook employee, Denise Guite, whose personnel file records are at issue in this case, received notice of the hearing in this matter but did not appear at such hearing.

           

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 December 2, 2002, complainant Byron requested that the respondent provide him a copy of the personnel file of former town of Westbrook employee, Denise Guite.  The December 2, 2002 letter indicated that the request “would include but is not limited to any and all written documents on any disciplinary action the town took against Ms. Guite.”

 

            3.  It is found that by letter dated December 4, 2002, counsel for the respondent informed complainant Byron that the respondent had determined that disclosure of the personnel file would legally constitute an invasion of Guite’s privacy, and consequently, the respondent would be notifying Guite of the request, and providing her with an opportunity to object to the disclosure of the requested records, pursuant to §1-214(b), G.S.

 

4.  Section 1-214(b), G.S., in relevant part provides:

 

whenever a public agency receives a request to inspect or copy records contained in any of its employees' personnel or medical files and similar files and the agency reasonably believes that the disclosure of such records would legally constitute an invasion of privacy, the agency shall immediately notify in writing (1) each employee concerned, provided such notice shall not be required to be in writing where impractical due to the large number of employees concerned and (2) the collective bargaining representative, if any, of each employee concerned….                      

                                                                                               

5.  Section 1-214(c), G.S., in relevant part, further provides:

 

a public agency which has provided notice under subsection (b) of this section shall disclose the records requested unless it receives a written objection from the employee concerned…Upon the filing of an objection as provided in this subsection, the agency shall not disclose the requested records unless ordered to do so by the Freedom of Information Commission …. 

 

6.  It is found that Guite filed an objection to  disclosure of the requested records, within the meaning of §1-214, G.S.

 

            7.   It is found that by letter dated December 11, 2002, counsel for the respondent informed complainant Byron that Guite had been notified of the request, and that she objected to the disclosure of the requested records.

 

            8.  Thereafter, the complainants filed this complaint with the Commission on December 16, 2002, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying them a copy of the requested records.

 

            9.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainants limited the request to disciplinary records concerning Guite spanning the period of her employment with the town of Westbrook (hereinafter “disciplinary records”).

            10.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., in relevant part, provides that public records or files mean  “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 1-210(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 …(3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212 …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 unclear from the record whether any disciplinary records exist.

 

            13.  It is concluded however, that if such records exist, they constitute “public records” within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

14.  With respect to the “privacy” claim asserted,  §1-210(b)(2), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of “personnel or medical files and similar files” the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.”

 

15.  The Commission takes administrative notice of the final decision in contested case docket #FIC 2001-251, Fred Radford v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Trumbull (January 2002), with respect to the discussion of §1-210(b)(2), G.S., and Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158 (1993).

 

16.  The Supreme Court set forth the test for the §1-210(b)(2), G.S., exemption in Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158, 175 (1993), which test has been the standard for disclosure of records pursuant to that exemption since 1993.  The Commission takes administrative notice of the multitude of court rulings, Commission final decisions,1 and instances of advice given by Commission staff members,2 which have relied upon the Perkins test, since its release in 1993.

 

 17.  Specifically, under the Perkins test, the claimant must first establish that the files in question are personnel, medical or similar files.  Second, the claimant must show that disclosure of the records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.  In determining whether disclosure would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, the claimant must establish both of two elements: that the information sought does not pertain to legitimate matters of public concern, and that such information is highly offensive to a reasonable person.

 

            18.  It is found that the disciplinary records at issue, to the extent they exist, constitute “personnel” or “similar” files within the meaning of §1-210(b)(2), G.S.

 

19.  The Commission concludes however, that the respondent does not have standing to assert the privacy rights of an employee, within the meaning of §1-214(b), G.S., and further, any existing privacy rights belong to the employee and not to the respondent.  See e.gThedress Campbell v. City Treasurer, City of Hartford, contested case docket # FIC 2000-022 (August 9, 2000).

 

20.  Accordingly, it is concluded that if Guite objects to the disclosure of disciplinary records on the grounds of privacy, she should have provided evidence to this Commission to support her §1-210(b)(2), G.S. claim.  Because she failed to do so, it is concluded that Guite failed to prove that disclosure of disciplinary records concerning her would be an invasion of privacy within the meaning of §1-210(b)(2), G.S. 

 

21.  It is further concluded that because the Commission is unaware of the contents of any disciplinary records that may exist, the Commission is unable to determine if any cognizable privacy interest would be compromised if such records are disclosed.

 

            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 copy of any and all existing records concerning discipline of Guite, while she was employed with the town of Westbrook, whether such records are maintained in a file called a “personnel file” or otherwise maintained.  If no such records exist, the respondent shall forthwith provide the complainants with an affidavit attesting that no such records exist.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 10, 2003.

 

 

___________________________________

Ann B. Gimmartino

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:

 

Ken Byron and The Hartford Courant

40 South Street

New Britain, CT  06051

 

First Selectman, Town of Westbrook

c/o John S. Bennet, Esq.

Gould, Larson, Bennet, Wills & McDonnell, P.C.

35 Plains Road, PO Box 959

Essex, CT  06426

 

 

___________________________________

Ann B. Gimmartino

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2002-580FD/abg/09/11/2003

 

 


 

 

ENDNOTES

 

1. A. Court cases

 

Director, Retirement & Benefits Services Div. v. FOIC, 256 Conn. 764 (2001); Rocque v. FOIC, 255 Conn. 651 (2001); Dept. of Public Safety v FOIC, 242 Conn. 79 (1997) Conn. Alcohol & Drug Abuse Commission v. FOIC, 233 Conn.28 (1995) Kurecza v. FOIC, 228 Conn. 271 (1994); First Selectman v. FOIC, 60 Conn. App. 64 (2000); Dept. of Children & Families v. FOIC, 48 Conn. App. 467 (1998); Almeida v. FOIC, 39 Conn. App. 154 (1995); Dept. of Transportation v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 01-0508810 (Schuman, J. 2001); City Treasurer, City of Hartford v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 99 0496222 (Cohn, J. 2000); Rocque, Commissioner of Environmental Protection v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 98 0492734 (Hartmere, J. 1999); Director, Retirement & Benefits Services Div. v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 98 0492692 (Hartmere, J. 1999); First Selectman, Town of Ridgefield v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 99‑0493041 (McWeeny, J. 1999); Chairman, Bd. of Education Town of Darien v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB CV 97 0575674 (McWeeny, J. 1998); Waters, Commissioner of State of Conn. Dept. of Administrative Services v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB CV 96 0565853 (McWeeny, J. 1997); Armstrong, Commissioner of State of Conn. Dept. Of Correction v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB CV 96 0563608 (McWeeny, J. 1997); Dept. of Children & Families v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB CV 96 0562546 (McWeeny, J. 1997); State of Conn. Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB CV 95 0554467 (McWeeny, J. 1997); Youngquist v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 95 0554601 (McWeeny, J. 1996 and 1997); Cracco v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 94 0705371 (Dunnell, J. 1995); Cracco v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB, CV 93 0705370, (Dunnell, J. 1995); Cracco v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB, CV 94 0705369, (Dunnell, J. 1995); Simonds v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 93 070 41 39 (Maloney, J. 1994); Gallagher v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 93 0531514 (Maloney, J. 1994).

 

 

1. B. FOIC Decisions

 

Docket #FIC 2000-624; Eric Gustavson v. Board of Education, Brookfield Public Schools (June 13, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-557; Wendy John v. Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General, State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General; Wil Gundling, William McCullough, Phillip Schulz, Margaret Chapple, Assistant Attorneys General, State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General; and State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General (June 13, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-268; Michael Costanza and The Day v. Director of Utilities, Utilities Department, City of Groton; and Mayor, City of Groton (April 25, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-198; William J. Stone v. Personnel Administrator, State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Finance and Administration; and State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation (April 20, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-537; James Leonard, Jr. v. Chief, Police Department, City of New Britain (March 28, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-348; Bradshaw Smith v. Office of the Vice Chancellor for Information Services, State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut; and State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut (February 28, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-474; Robert H. Boone and Journal Inquirer v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks (Jan. 24, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-265; Lisa Goldberg and The Hartford Courant v. Superintendent of Schools, Vernon Public Schools (Jan. 24, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-569; Mary Hyde v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Seymour (Dec. 13, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-049; Nicholas B. Wynnick v. Board of Directors, Ansonia Public Library, Town of Ansonia (Dec. 13, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-136; Thomas E. Lee v. Board of Education, Trumbull Public Schools; and Superintendent of Schools, Trumbull Public Schools (Nov. 29, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-135; Thomas E. Lee v. Board of Education, Trumbull Public Schools; and Superintendent of Schools, Trumbull Public Schools (Nov. 29, 2000); Docket #FIC2000-086; Mitchell D. Poudrier v. Superintendent of Schools, Killingly Public Schools (Sept. 13, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-173; Robert H. Boone and the Journal Inquirer v. Anthony Milano, District Manager, Metropolitan District Commission; and Metropolitan District Commission (Aug. 23, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-094; James D. Goodwin v. Communications Specialist, State of Connecticut, Department of Social Services, Public and Government Relations Unit (Aug. 9, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-022; Thedress Campbell v. City Treasurer, City of Hartford (Aug. 9, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-137; Robert H. Boone and Journal Inquirer v. Metropolitan District Commission (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-560; Leo F. Smith v. Robert H. Skinner, First Selectman, Town of Suffield; and Selectmen’s Office, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-556; Delores Annicelli v. Director, New Haven Housing Authority, City of New Haven; and New Haven Housing Authority, City of New Haven (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-548; Leo F. Smith v. John P. Lange, Human Resources Director, Town of Suffield; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-547; Leo F. Smith v. John P. Lange, Human Resources Director, Town of Suffield; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-525; Leo F. Smith v. John P. Lange, Human Resources Director, Town of Suffield; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-118; Elizabeth Ganga and Connecticut Post v. Police Department, Town of Stratford (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-095; Ron Robillard and the Chronicle v. Chairman, Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools; and Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-093; Megan J. Bard and The Norwich Bulletin v. Chairman, Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools; and Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-575; Bruce Kaz v. Robert Skinner, First Selectman, Town of Suffield; and Ted Flanders, Building Inspector, Town of Suffield (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-519; Robert J. Fortier v. Personnel Director, Town of East Hartford; and Mayor, Town of East Hartford (June 14, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-550; James and Susanne Milewski v. Deputy Chief, Police Department, Town of Clinton; and Police Department, Town of Clinton (May 24, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-005; Fred B. Feins v. President and Chief Executive Officer, Granby Ambulance Association, Inc., Town of Granby (May 10, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-606; Robert L. Corraro and IBEW Local 90 v. Town Attorney, Town of Hamden; and Electrical Contractors, Inc. (May 10, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-533; Donald J. Lanouette, Jr. v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Madison; and Police Department, Town of Madison (April 26, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-502; Christopher Hoffman and New Haven Register v. Director of Personnel, State of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University; and Personnel Office, State of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University (April 26, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-440; Anne Hamilton and The Hartford Courant James Martino, Chief, Police Department, Town of Avon; Peter A. Agnesi, Lieutenant, Police Department, Town of Avon; and Police Department, Town of Avon (March 8, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-333; Lynn Fredricksen and New Haven Register v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Madison; and Police Department, Town of Madison (March 8, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-289; Thomas Moran v. Director, Human Resources, Town of Simsbury; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Simsbury (Feb. 9, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-328; Victor Zigmund v. Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Human Resources Operations, Connecticut Valley Hospital, Whiting Forensic Division (Jan. 26, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-100; Janice D’Arcy and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Cheshire; Police Department, Town of Cheshire; Town Manager, Town of Cheshire; and Town of Cheshire (Jan. 26, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-355; Wayne Mercier v. Patricia C. Washington, Director of Personnel, City of Hartford; and Department of Personnel, City of Hartford (Nov. 10, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-391; Jonathan F. Kellogg and The Republican American v. Department of Education, City of Waterbury (Oct. 13, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-161; Michael W. Cahill v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Hamden; and Police Department, Town of Hamden (Sept. 22, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-294; Robert J. Bourne v. Department of Public Utilities, City of Norwich, and City of Norwich (Sept. 22, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-293; Joseph J. Cassidy v. Department of Public Utilities, City of Norwich, and City of Norwich (Sept. 22, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-040; Judith F. Machuga and State of Connecticut, Division of Public Defender Services, Superior Court, G.A. 13 v. Chief, Police Department, Town of East Windsor; and Police Department, Town of East Windsor (Aug. 25, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-144; Robert H. Boone and Journal Inquirer v. William Gifford, Chief, Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks; Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks; and Windsor Locks Police Commission (July 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-096; Paul Marks and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks; and Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks (July 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-064; Joan Coe v. First Selectman, Town of Simsbury; Director, Human Resources Department, Town of Simsbury; and Town of Simsbury (July 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-150; Andrew Nargi v. Office of Corporation Counsel, City of Torrington; and City of Torrington (July 14, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-135; Warren Woodberry, Jr. and The Hartford Courant v. Acting Town Manager, Town of Rocky Hill and Town of Rocky Hill (July 14, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-015; Richard Manuel Rivera v. Superintendent of Schools, Torrington Public Schools; and Board of Education, Torrington Public Schools (June 9, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-372; William C. Kaempffer and New Haven Register v. Police Department, City of New Haven; City of New Haven; and James Sorrentino (June 9, 1999); Docket #FIC 1997-361; Dominick L. Santarsiero v. Director, Human Resources, City of Stamford (June 10, 1998); Docket #FIC 1999-019; David K. Jaffe v. State of Connecticut, Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Human Resources; State of Connecticut, Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Security Division; and State of Connecticut, Connecticut Lottery Corporation (April 28, 1999); Docket #FIC1998-325; Virginia Groark and The Day v. Freedom of Information Officer, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health, Office of Special Services, Communications Division; and Agency Personnel Administrator, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health, Human Resources Division (April 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-208; Thedress Campbell v. City Treasurer, City of Hartford; and City of Hartford (April 14, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-265; Benjamin M. Wenograd and Service Employees International Union Local 760 v. John Roughan, Executive Director, East Hartford Housing Authority; and East Hartford Housing Authority, Town of East Hartford (March 24, 1999); Docket #FIC 1997-363; Diana R. Raczkowski v. Mayor, Town of Naugatuck (March 11, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-307; Krystin Bratina v. Chief, Hartford Fire Department, City of Hartford (March 11, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-288; Christian Miller and the New Haven Register v. Superintendent, Branford Public Schools; and Board of Education, Branford Public Schools (Feb. 24, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-255; Joan O’Rourke v. Chief, Police Department, City of Torrington; and Police Department, City of Torrington (Jan. 27, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-251; John Ward v. Beverly L. Durante, Personnel Administrator, Housatonic Area Regional Transit; and Housatonic Area Regional Transit (Jan. 27, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-163; Lawrence A. Butts v. Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division; and State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division (Dec. 9, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-162; Lawrence A. Butts Chairperson, State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division; and State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division (Dec. 9, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-232; Scott Clark, Amy Kertesz, Michael Gates and the Ridgefield Police Union v. First Selectman, Town of Ridgefield; and Town of Ridgefield (Nov. 18, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-193; Daniel P. Jones and The Hartford Courant v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection; and State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection (Nov. 18, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-121; Ernie Cantwell and International Association of Firefighters, Local No. 1073 v. Director, Personnel Department, City of Middletown and Personnel Department, City of Middletown (Oct. 14, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-120; Ernie Cantwell and International Association of Firefighters, Local No. 1073 v. Director, Personnel Department, City of Middletown (        Oct. 14, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998‑094; Janice D'Arcy and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden and Meriden Police Department (Oct. 14, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-422; Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. and Greenwich Time v. Chief, Greenwich Police Department, Town of Greenwich; and Greenwich Police Department, Town of Greenwich (Sept. 9, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-023; Deborah Maynard v. Superintendent, Voluntown School District; and Principal, Voluntown Elementary School, Voluntown School District (Aug. 12, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-298; Allan Drury and The New Haven Register v. Chief, East Haven Police Department, Town of East Haven; and Town of East Haven (June 10, 1998); Jonathan Lucas and Greenwich Times v. Director, Department of Human Resources, Town of Greenwich; and Town of Greenwich (May 27, 1998); John C. Rettman v. Meriden Police Department, Internal Affairs Division; and Paul Rowen (May 13, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-318; Dennis Carnot v. Chief, Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden; Internal Affairs Division, Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden; Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden; and Paul Rowen (May 13, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-175; Matthew Brown, Ken Byron and The Hartford Courant v. Superintendent of Schools, Plymouth Public Schools; and Board of Education, Town of Plymouth (February 18, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-123; John Christoffersen and The Advocate v. Superintendent of Schools, Stamford Public Schools and Director of Personnel, Stamford Public Schools (Feb. 11, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-088; John B. Harkins v. Acting Town Manager, Town of Tolland (Jan. 28, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-085; Joe Johnson and Greenwich Time v. Chief of Police, Greenwich Police Department (Jan. 28, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-142; Laura Amon v. Program Manager, Affirmative Action Division, State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation (Dec. 3, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-572; Ken Byron and The Hartford Courant v. Chief of Police, Town of Wethersfield (Nov. 12, 1997); Docket #FIC 1997-238; Kimberley A. Thomsen and the Republican-American v. Acting Superintendent, Waterbury Police Department (Oct. 29, 1997); Docket #FIC 1997-089; Steven Edelman v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Retardation; and State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Retardation (Oct. 22, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-551; Judith A. Amato v. Executive Director, New Britain Housing Authority; and New Britain Housing Authority (Aug. 27, 1997); Docket # FIC 1996-539; Ann Marie Derwin v. Legal Advisor, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety (Aug. 27, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-592; Francine Karp v. Mayor, City of Bristol; Director of Personnel, City of Bristol; and Dennis Daigneault (July 23, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-243; Joanne C. Tashjian v. Personnel Officer, State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission; and State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission (June 4, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-322;Carolyn Moreau and The Hartford Courant v. Chief of Police, Southington Police Department; and Susan Williams (May 28, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-465; John Gauger, Jr., Joseph Cadrain and Richard Westervelt v. Kenneth H. Kirschner, Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; Dawn Carnese, Legal Advisor, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; and Lt. David Werner, Commanding Officer, Troop "B", State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police (April 9, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-315; David W. Cummings v. Christopher Burnham, Treasurer, State of Connecticut (April 9, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-521; Carol Butterworth v. Town Council, Town of Tolland (March 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-421; John B. Harkins v. Chairman, Tolland Town Council (March 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-314; David W. Cummings v. Christopher Burnham, Treasurer, State of Connecticut (April 9, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-119; David W. Cummings v. Jesse M. Frankl, Chairman, State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission (March 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-215; Alice M. Gray v. Chief of Police, Manchester Police Department, and Assistant Town Attorney, Town of Manchester (Feb. 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-159; Carolyn Moreau and The Hartford Courant v. Police Chief, Southington Police Department (Jan. 22, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-124; Donald H. Schiller, Michael Kelley and The Record-Journal Publishing Company v. Police Chief, Town of Southington Police Department, and Town of Southington Police Department (Jan. 22, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-134; Betty Halibozek v. Superintendent of Schools, Middletown Public Schools; and Supervisor of Maintenance and Transportation, Board of Education, City of Middletown (Dec. 11, 1996); Docket #FIC1996-006; Joseph Cadrain and Richard Westervelt v. Gerald Gore, Legal Affairs Unit, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police (Dec. 11, 1996); Docket #FIC 1996-153; Tracey Thomas and The Hartford Courant v. Legal Affairs Unit, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety (Nov. 20, 1996); Docket #FIC1995-419; Robie Irizarry v. Warden, Willard Correctional Institution, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction (Oct. 23, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-368; Thomas Lally v. Executive Director, State of Connecticut Board of Education and Services for the Blind, and Special Projects Coordinator, State of Connecticut, Board of Education and Services for the Blind (Oct. 9, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-403; Jesse C. Leavenworth and The Hartford Courant v. Superintendent of Schools, Regional School District #7 (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-361; Christopher Hoffman and the New Haven Register v. James J. McGrath, Chief of Police, Ansonia Police Department and Eugene K. Baron, Brian Phipps, and Howard Tinney as members of the Ansonia Board of Police Commissioners (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC1995-358; Lyn Bixby and The Hartford Courant v. State of Connecticut, Department of Administrative Services (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC 1996-056; Francine Cimino v. Chief of Police, Glastonbury Police Department; Town Manager, Town of Glastonbury; and Town of Glastonbury (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-343; John J. Woodcock, III v. Town Manager, Town of South Windsor (July 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-324; John J. Woodcock, III and Kathryn A. Hale v. Dana Whitman, Jr., Acting Town Manager, Town of South Windsor (July 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 95-251; Lyn Bixby & The Hartford Courant v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction (July 10, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-252; Valerie Finholm and The Hartford Courant v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Children and Families (May 22, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-193; Terence P. Sexton v. Chief of Police, Hartford Police Department (May 8, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-125; Chris Powell and Journal Inquirer v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Social Services (March 13, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-081; Bruce Bellm, Kendres Lally, Philip Cater, Peter Hughes, Carol Northrop, Brad Pellissier, Todd Higgins and Bruce Garrison v. State of Connecticut, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, Sharon Story and Marlene Fein (March 13, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-074; Jeffrey C. Cole and WFSB/TV 3 v. James Strillacci, Chief of Police, West Hartford Police Department (Jan. 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-026; Curtis R. Wood v. Director of Affirmative Action, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction (Jan. 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-132; Michael A. Ingrassia v. Warden, Walker Special Management Unit, State of Connecticut Department of Correction (Dec. 27, 1995); Docket #FIC 1995-048; Jane Holfelder v. Canton Police Department (June 14, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-351; Edward A. Peruta v. O. Paul Shew, Rocky Hill Town Manager and Director of Public Safety; Donald Unwin, Mayor of Rocky Hill, William Pacelia, Deputy Mayor of Rocky Hill; and Curt Roggi, Rocky Hill Town Attorney (May 28, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-160; John Springer and The Bristol Press v. Chief of Police, Bristol Police Department (April 5, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-077; Kathryn Kranhold and The Hartford Courant v. Director, New Haven Health Department (Feb. 8, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-099; Frank Faraci, Jr. v. Middletown Police Department, Mayor of Middletown, and Middletown City Attorney (Feb. 2, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-011; Robert Grabar, Edward Frede and The News-Times v. Superintendent of Schools, Brookfield Public Schools and Brookfield Board of Education (Aug. 24, 1994); Docket #FIC 1993-279; Jay Lewin v. New Milford Director of Finance (March 23, 1994)

 

 

 

2. Affidavit of Eric Turner, January 9, 2002.

 

AFFIDAVIT OF ERIC V. TURNER

 

Eric V. Turner, having been duly sworn, does hereby depose as follows:

 

1.  I am over the age of eighteen (18) years and understand the obligation of an affirmation.

 

2.  I am a member of the Connecticut Bar and am currently employed as Director of Public Education for the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, having first been employed by said commission in 1996.

 

3.  I am providing this affidavit in light of the Supreme Court decision in Director, Retirement & Benefits Services Division v. Freedom of Information Commission, 256 Conn. 764 (2001), in which the court apparently invites a reconsideration of Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158 (1993).  See, Director, supra at 782, fn 13, 785 (Zarella, J. concurring).

 

4.  As part of my responsibilities as Director of Public Education for said commission, I have developed, organized and scheduled speaking engagements, seminars and programs explaining the duties and rights established under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.

 

5.  Since I assumed my current position in 1996, there have been approximately 290 such speaking engagements, seminars and programs in Connecticut and I have personally lectured in approximately 80 such speaking engagements, seminars and programs.

 

6.  As part of the presentation I have prepared for such speaking engagements, seminars and programs, the subject of the Connecticut General Statues Section 1-210(b)(2) exemption for personnel, medical and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy is stressed because of the great interest in that exemption and the confusion generated by a series of inconsistent and contradictory court decisions prior to Perkins, supra.  See, e.g., Chairman v. Freedom of Information Commission, 217 Conn. 193 (1991) (establishing “reasonable expectation of privacy” test; query whether subjectively or objectively applied) and Board of Education v. Freedom of Information Commission, 210 Conn. 590 (1989) (confirming a “balancing” test), which was overruled by the Chairman case.

 

7.  Since the Supreme Court ruling in Perkins, supra, all Freedom of Information Commission staff members who conduct such speaking engagements, seminars and programs discuss in detail the rulings in that case and its progeny.

 

8.  As part of my responsibilities as Director of Public Education, I also answer telephone and other inquiries from public officials and the public.  Since my employment with said commission, I have answered thousands of such inquiries, including hundreds of inquiries concerning the Connecticut General Statutes Section 1-210(b)(2) exemption.  In responding to such inquiries I discuss in detail the Perkins case and its progeny.

 

9.  Based on the foregoing experiences, it is my opinion that the Perkins decision, and its progeny, have had a beneficial effect on public officials and the public itself because they can rely on a now long-standing and clear test with respect to the Connecticut General Statutes Section 1-210(b)(2) exemption, which helps them determine whether that exemption is applicable to the practical problems they encounter with respect to personnel, medical and similar information.  Indeed, the many court and Freedom of Information Commission decisions applying the Perkins test have given public officials and the public a now consistent body of law concerning that statutory exemption.

 

 

Eric V. Turner

 

 

 

COUNTY OF HARTFORD

                                                            ss:  Hartford

STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

Subscribed and attested to before me this 9th day of January, 2002.

 

 

 

Mitchell W. Pearlman

Commissioner of the Superior Court