FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
William T. George,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-063

Human Resources Department,

State of Connecticut, Southern

Connecticut State University,

 
  Respondents January 24, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 17, 2006, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and presented exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The complainant presented testimony in this matter, but the respondent did not. 

 

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 January 30, 2006, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of the following records:

                       

a)  peer evaluations and student evaluations for English 100 and 101 for teachers Donna Coppola, Mary Miller, Donna Pressman, Marcel Burch, Jessica Choronzy, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Jerolmon and David DiSarro for the fall 2004 and spring 2005 semesters. 

 

b) proof of academic degrees and awards for the above listed teachers, verification of their teaching experience; and

 

c) resumes for Coppola, Miller and Pressman. 

 

3.  It is found that, by letter dated February 8, 2006, the respondent replied to the request described in paragraph 2, above, and contended that 10a-154a, G.S., provides a basis to withhold the records described in paragraph 2.a, above, that some of the records described in paragraph 2.b, above, had been provided, and that employment applications had been provided in lieu of the resumes requested as described in paragraph 2.c, above.

 

4.  By letter dated February 15, 2006 and filed on February 16, 2006, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the FOI Act by failing to comply with the request described in paragraph 2, above. 

 

5.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” to 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, 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.”

 

            6.  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 . . . receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.” 

 

            7.  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.” 

 

            8.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant contended that he had received no records responsive to the request described in paragraph 2.a, above, that he had received only three records responsive to the request described in paragraph 2.b, above, and that he had received only one record in response to the request described in paragraph 2.c, above.  The respondent contended that it had provided the complainant with all records responsive to the requests described in paragraph 2.b and 2.c, above, which it maintains, and that any other requested records described in paragraph 2.b and 2.c, do not exist. 

 

9.  It is found that the respondent failed to prove that it conducted a diligent search for all requested records.  It is found that the respondent maintains the records described in paragraph 2.b and 2.c, above, and that such records are public records within the meaning 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

            10.  With respect to the records described in paragraph 2.a, above, the respondent contends that 10a-154a, G.S., exempts such records from mandatory disclosure. 

 

11.    Section 10a-154a, G.S., provides:

 

“Any record maintained or kept on file by a board of trustees of…[the respondent] which is a record of the performance and evaluation of a faculty or professional staff member…shall not be deemed to be a public record and shall not be subject to disclosure under the provisions of section 1-210, unless such faculty or professional staff member consents in writing to the release of his records…”

 

12.  It is found that none of the teachers described in paragraph 2.a, above, consented to the release of their evaluations.  It is further found that the records described in paragraph 2.a, above, are not public records subject to disclosure pursuant to 1-210, G.S., by operation of 10a-154a, G.S.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act, by failing to disclose such records to the complainant.

 

13.  It is concluded that the respondent violated the FOI Act, by failing to provide the complainant with copies of all records described in paragraph 2.b and 2.c, above. 

 

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 conduct a thorough search of its records to locate the records described in paragraph 2.b and 2.c, above.  Thereupon, the respondent shall provide the complainant with copies of any such located records, which it has not already provided to the complainant, free of charge.

 

2.  If the search described in paragraph 1, of the order, above, yields no further records, the respondent shall provide the complainant with an affidavit, attesting to such fact.  

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 24, 2007.

 

________________________________

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:

 

William T. George

711 Wadsworth Street

Middletown, CT 06457

 

Human Resources Department,

State of Connecticut, Southern

Connecticut State University

c/o Craig W. Patenaude, Esq.

Employment & Labor Attorney

Southern Connecticut State University

501 Crescent Street

New Haven, CT 06515-1355

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-063FD/paj/1/31/2007