In the Matter of a Complaint by


Marshall Parsons,






Docket #FIC 2003-142

Mayor, City of Groton,




November 12, 2003





The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 23, 2003, 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.


2.      It is found that by letter dated March 14, 2003, to the administrative secretary of the city of Groton’s utility department, the complainant requested access to inspect the files of the top five candidates who applied for the city’s chief of police position.  The complainant also requested to see the order in which the top five candidates were ranked.


3.      It is found that by letter dated March 18, 2003, the respondent informed the complainant that his request had been received, that he was in the process of collecting the requested records, and that the complainant would be contacted when the files were available.


4.      By letter dated April 9, 2003 and filed on April 15, 2003, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request.


5.      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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours . . . 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. 


6.      It is found that by letter dated April 11, 2003, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the resumes of the five finalists. 


7.      At the hearing on this matter, the complainant alleged that the respondent did not fully comply with his request because he was not provided with access to inspect “files” which would have included more records than those provided such as letters of recommendation, test scores, and notes or memos from interviews of the candidates.  The complainant further alleged that the respondent’s response was not prompt as required by the FOI Act.


8.      It is found that the respondent enlisted the services of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (hereinafter “IACP”) to conduct an employment search and make a recommendation to the city of Groton for a police chief.


9.      It is found that at the conclusion of IACP’s employment search, an IACP representative met with the respondent and city council members to discuss six recommended candidates, four of which were “highly” recommended candidates.


10.  It is found that based on the discussion with the IACP representative, the respondent and the city council selected a police chief from the “highly” recommended candidates. 


11.  It is found that neither the respondent or the city council generated or maintain any records pertaining to the selection process as all such records were generated and are maintained by IACP.


12.  It is found that upon receipt of the complainant’s request, the respondent, by letter dated March 21, 2003, informed the IACP representative of the complainant’s request and requested that he be sent copies of the resumes of the finalists.


13.  It is found that the respondent received the resumes from IACP on or about April 7, 2003, submitted them to the town attorney for review and redaction of any personally identifiable information and as found in paragraph 6, above, sent the redacted copies of the resumes to the complainant by letter dated April 11, 2003.


14.  At the hearing on this matter the respondent argued that the requested records are not public records for purposes of FOI because they are not maintained or owned by the respondent mayor or the city of Groton.  The respondent argued that he therefore was under no obligation to provide the complainant with any records.  The respondent argued that in providing the complainant with a copy of the resumes, he was acknowledging that the complainant had a legitimate concern and was trying to be accommodating. 


15.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records or files” as:


any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.


16.  It is found that the contract between IACP and the city of Groton to conduct the employment search provides: 


The association will not disclose, distribute, or release to any person or organization except authorized City officials . . . . any and all reports, recommendations and other materials, and the contents thereof resulting from the performance of the [the employment search].


17.  It is found that the respondent used some of the records generated by IACP in the hiring decision.


18.  It also is found that the city of Groton is entitled, by law, pursuant to its contract with IACP, to obtain records from IACP.


19. It is found that such records are public records within the meaning of §1-200(5), G.S., and the respondent, pursuant to §1-210(a), G.S., has an obligation to disclose such records upon request.


20. It is also found that IACP submitted a proposal to the respondent which outlined the employment search process and it can be reasonably determined from the proposal that the records generated from the search would included resumes, records from preliminary background checks, records from telephone interviews, assessment exercise results, and reports and scoring sheets from the assessment exercises.


21. It is found that while the records described in paragraph 20, above, were      not generated for all 62 applicants, they were generated for the 6 recommended candidates.


22. It is found that it can be understood from a fair reading of the       complainant’s request to inspect “files” that he wanted to inspect more than just resumes and that his request included the records described in paragraph 20, above.


23. It is found that the respondent’s request to the IACP representative for       only resumes was unreasonable under the facts and circumstances of this case and that he should have requested any and all records of the six recommended candidates and provided those records for the complainant’s inspection.


24. Consequently, it is found that the respondent did not fully comply with        the complainant’s request and it is concluded that he violated §1-210(a), G.S., by failing to provide all responsive records for the complainant’s inspection. 


25. With respect to the complainant’s allegation that the respondent failed to promptly comply with his request, it is found that the respondent took the necessary steps to provide the resumes to the complainant and did so without undue delay; it is concluded, therefore, that with respect to the resumes, the respondent “promptly” complied with the complainant’s request within the meaning of §1-210(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 complainant is entitled to any and all records used by the city of      Groton and the respondent is hereby ordered to obtain and provide a copy of same to the complainant forthwith.


2.      The respondent is hereby ordered to provide the complainant any           records it can obtain by law from IACP.


            3.   Nothing in this order shall require the disclosure of personally          identifiable information about any unsuccessful candidate or the psychological records of any individual.




Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 12, 2003.




Ann B. Gimmartino

Acting Clerk of the Commission





Marshall Parsons

129 Warner Street

Groton, CT  06340


Mayor, City of Groton

c/o Matthew Shafner, Esq.

O’Brien, Shafner, Stuart,

Kelly & Morris, PC

475 Bridge Street, Box 929

Groton, CT  06340




Ann B. Gimmartino

Acting Clerk of the Commission