FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
John Bolton,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-379

State Fire Administrator, State

of Connecticut, Office of State

Fire Administration,

 
  Respondent March 28, 2007
       

  

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 18, 2006, 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.      It is found that the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that by letter dated June 29, 2006, the complainant made a request for:

 

a.       a copy of the Firefighter I certification certificates for city of Bridgeport firefighter candidates, the names of whom were listed in the complainant’s June 29, 2006 letter;

 

b.      a copy of the Firefighter I examination scores of the same list of candidates; and

 

c.       a copy of the Firefighter II certification certificates for the same list of candidates and a copy of their examination scores for the Firefighter II exam.

 

3.      By letter dated July 6, 2006, the respondent responded to the complainant’s request and informed him that the individuals listed in his June 29, 2006 request are certified to the level of Firefighter I and are not certified to the level of Firefighter II.  It is found that the respondent also informed the complainant that the respondent does not release examination scores to persons other than the examinee without written permission from the examinee.

 

4.      By letter dated July 20, 2006, and filed on July 24, 2006, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his June 29, 2006 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 . . . receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. . .

 

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

 

7.      At the hearing on this matter, the parties stipulated to the fact that the respondent does not maintain any records responsive to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2c, above.

 

8.      It is found, therefore, that the only records at issue in this complaint are those described in paragraphs 2a and 2b, above (hereinafter “the requested records”).

 

9.      It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

10.   With respect to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2a, above, it is found that the respondent generates one certificate for each successful candidate which is mailed to them and that the respondent does not maintain a copy.

 

11.   It is found, therefore, that the respondent does not maintain the requested certificates and consequently, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with a copy of such records. 

 

12.   With respect to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 2b, above, the respondent, at the hearing in this matter, claimed that the examination scores may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(17), G.S., which provides that disclosure is not required of "[e]ducational records which are not subject to disclosure under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ["FERPA"], 20 USC 1232g ...."

 

13.   Section 1232g(b)(1) of Title 20 of the United State Code provides in relevant part that, with certain exceptions:

No funds shall be made available under any applicable program to any educational agency or institution which has a policy or practice of permitting the release of education records (or personally identifiable information contained therein other than directory information, as defined in paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of this section) of students without the written consent of their parents to any individual, agency, or organization ....

14.   It is found that the respondent failed to prove that it is an “educational agency or institution” within the meaning of 20 USC 1232g.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the requested records are not permissibly exempt pursuant to 1-210(b)(17), G.S.

 

15.   It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to comply with the complainant’s request for the examination scores of the candidates listed in his June 29, 2006 request.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint: 

 

1.      The respondent shall, within 10 days of the mailing of the final decision in this complaint, provide the complainant with a copy of the examination scores of the candidates listed in his June 29, 2006 request, free of charge.

 

2.      Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 28, 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:

 

John Bolton

71 Woodland Avenue

Bridgeport, CT 06605

 

State Fire Administrator, State

of Connecticut, Office of State

Fire Administration

CT Fire Academy

34 Perimeter Road

Windsor Locks, CT 06096

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-379FD/paj/4/4/2007