FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
James McKeever,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-137

Superintendent, Board of Education,

Brookfield Public Schools,

 
  Respondent March 9, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 1, 2004, 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:

1.      By e-mail correspondence dated February 19, 2004, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of certain records, which included all e-mails and complaints regarding Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski.

 

2.      By letter dated March 14, 2004 and filed on March 23, 2004, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request.

 

3.      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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.  

 

4.      Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant that “any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.” 

 

5.      It is found that, to the extent the requested records exist, such records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

6.      It is found that by letter dated March 10, 2004, the respondent informed the complainant that the records responsive to his request were being gathered and by letter dated May 14, 2004, the respondent informed the complainant that the records responsive to his request had been gathered and were available.

 

7.      At the hearing on this matter, the complainant claimed that in response to his request for all e-mails and all complaints maintained by the respondent regarding Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski, the respondent only provided copies of e-mails and complaints the complainant provided to the respondent earlier in the year.  The complainant explained that he obtained copies of e-mails and letters of complaints regarding Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski from individuals who claimed they forwarded such e-mails and letters to certain personnel at the Brookfield public schools. The complainant explained that he expected to be provided with those e-mails and letters of complaints as well.  The complainant alleged that because the respondent failed to provide any other e-mails or letters of complaints than those that the complainant provided to him, the respondent conducted only a cursory search for records responsive to his request.  The complainant contended that the respondent, either in the permanent personnel file or some other file, should maintain all e-mails and letters of complaints, and that had the respondent conducted a more thorough search, he would have uncovered them all.

 

8.      It is found that if the respondent maintained any e-mails or letters of complaints regarding Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski, such records would be kept in their respective permanent personnel files.

 

9.      It is found however, that the respondent searched the permanent personnel files of  Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski and found no other records responsive to the complainant’s request than those provided to the complainant.  Furthermore, the respondent permitted the complainant to review the entire permanent personnel files of Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski, maintained by the respondent, and the complainant found no other records responsive to his request than those that were provided to him.

 

10.   It is also found that the respondent, in conjunction with other staff at his office and at the schools where Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski are employed, conducted a diligent and good faith search for records responsive to the complainant’s request which included searching:

 

a.       the permanent personnel files maintained at the respondent’s office;

b.      the correspondence file maintained personally by the respondent;

c.       the files he could find that were maintained by the previous superintendent;

d.      the files maintained by the assistant superintendent; and

e.       the files maintained by the principal at the schools where Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski are employed.

 

11.   It is also found that there was a directive to Ceil O’Doherty, Richard Nabel,  and Cyndi Adamski to search their files and forward to the respondent any records responsive to the complainant’s request.  It is found that the respondent did not receive any records from Ceil O’Doherty and Cyndi Adamski.

 

12.   With respect to the e-mails and letters of complaints obtained by the complainant from other individuals, as described in paragraph 7, above, it is found that none of them were directed to the respondent nor did the respondent receive a copy of them from the individuals to whom they were directed.  It is also found that the respondent is not aware of any action taken regarding the issues raised in such e-mails or letters of complaints, which action would be documented and forwarded to the assistant superintendent to be included in the permanent personnel file. 

 

13.   It is found that while e-mails and letters of complaints other than those maintained by the respondent exist, such records are not maintained by the respondent. 

 

14.   Therefore it is 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.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 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:

 

James McKeever

Nine Pocono Ridge Road

Brookfield, CT 06804

 

Superintendent, Board of Education,

Brookfield Public Schools

c/o Susan Gundersen, Esq.

Sullivan, Schoen, Campane & Connon, LLC

646 Prospect Avenue

Hartford, CT 06105-4286

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-137FD/paj/3/14/2005