FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Frank Ricci,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-070

Tina F. Burgett, Director of Human Resources,

City of New Haven,

 
  Respondent February 9, 2005
       

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 6, 2004, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. At the Commission meeting on September 22, 2004, the parties stipulated that the evidence to be received at the September 23, 2004 hearing in New Haven Firefighters Local 825 v. Department of Human Resources, City of New Haven, Docket #FIC 2004-084 and Patrick J. Egan and New Haven Firefighters Local 825 v. Mayor, City of New Haven, Docket #FIC 2004-182 would be administratively noticed as evidence in the above-captioned matter. 

 

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)(A), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, at a meeting of the New Haven Civil Service Commission on or about January 22, 2004, the complainant orally requested score records showing his own score and the ranking by score of individually identified passing candidates in the most recent examinations for promotion to lieutenant and to captain in the New Haven Department of Fire Services (“scoring record”).  By letter dated January 23, 2004, the complainant made a follow up written request for the same records and some additional items not at issue herein. Finally, by letter dated February 2, 2004, the complainant requested to inspect his own examination paper (“examination paper”).  

 

3.  By letter dated February 4, 2004, the respondent provided certain records not at issue herein, together with a copy of the relevant examination scores, which were redacted so as not to disclose the social security numbers or genders of the applicants. Names were not included on these records of examination scores, so there was no individual identification of candidates and their respective scores.  The respondent also declined to release the complainant’s test score, citing 1-210(b)(6), G.S.

 

4.  By letter filed with the Commission on February 13, 2004, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that failure to provide the requested scoring record and examination paper violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act.  The complainant also requested a civil penalty.

 

5.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

“[e]xcept 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, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.” 

 

6.  Section 1-212, G.S., provides in relevant part:  “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.…” 

 

7.  The respondent contends that the requested records are exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of 1-210(b)(6), G.S.

 

8.   Section 1-210(6), G.S., exempts “[t]est questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer a licensing examination, examination for employment or academic examinations.”

 

9.   It is found that the respondent contracted with a corporation, IO Solutions, to administer the relevant civil service examinations in the New Haven Department of Fire Services, and that IO Solutions maintains the requested examination paper.   Accordingly, it is found that the respondent maintains the examination paper and that such record is a public record within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

10.  It is found that disclosure of the examination paper would directly tend to disclose the examination test questions.  Therefore, it is concluded that the examination paper is exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of 1-210(b)(6), G.S., and that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act by denying the complainant a copy thereof. 

 

11.  It is found that IO Solutions created a record consisting of preliminary scores of all applicants, identifying individuals by social security number and not by name.  It is also found that IO Solutions sent by e-mail such record without redaction to the respondent, who therefore has the preliminary scores of all applicants, individually identified by social security number, in her custody and control.   It is further found that such record is the scoring record at issue herein and that such record is a public record within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

12.  It is further found that, on or about January 24, 2004, the New Haven Civil Service Commission voted 2-2 on a motion to certify the results of the two examinations, thus by tie vote, declining to so certify. At this meeting, copies of the scoring record were publicly distributed, with the social security numbers redacted in order not to identify individuals.  It is further found that a copy of such record constitutes respondent’s exhibit C in this matter, and that, accordingly, the respondent has provided the complainant with a copy thereof. 

 

13.  Social security numbers are exempt from disclosure under various provisions of federal law, state statute, and in previous decisions of the Commission.    

 

14.  In light of paragraphs 11 through 13, above, it is therefore concluded that the issue of the provision of the scoring record is resolved, and that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act in its provision of the scoring record to the complainant.  Accordingly, the Commission need not address such issue any further.   

 

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.   

           

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 9, 2005.

 

________________________________

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:

 

Frank Ricci

20 Parkview Road

Wallingford, CT 06492

 

Tina F. Burgett, Director of Human Resources,

City of New Haven

c/o Thomas W. Ude, Jr., Esq. and

Kathleen M. Foster, Esq.

165 Church Street, 4th floor

New Haven, CT 06510

 

 

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-070FD/paj/2/9/2005