FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Kimberlee A. Morton,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2007-202

General Manager, Greater

Bridgeport Transit Authority,

 
  Respondent September 12, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 16, 2007, 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.      The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1)(A), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that by letter dated January 26, 2007, the complainant requested records pertaining to a recent job search by the respondent for the position of Operations Officer.

 

3.      It is found that by letter dated February 5, 2007, the respondent provided to the complainant many records that were responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

4.      It is found that the respondent redacted information that identified individuals from the records he provided to the complainant on February 5, 2007, and withheld copies of candidates’ resumes in order to protect the candidates’ identities.

 

5.      It is found that, by letter dated March 14, 2007, the complainant made a second request for records from the respondent, based on the records she received from the respondent on February 5, 2007.  It is found that the parties treated the second request as relating back to and incorporating the complainant’s first request.

 

6.      By letter dated March 29, 2007 and received April 2, 2007, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide all of the records she requested in her letters of January 26, 2007 and March 14, 2007.

 

7.      It is found that the respondent provided the complainant with copies of evaluation sheets for all interviewees and a copy of a spreadsheet compiling data from the evaluation process. It is found that the respondent redacted the names and any identifying details of the interviewees from the records it provided to the complainant.

 

8.      At the hearing in this matter, the complainant testified that she was seeking:

 

a.       unredacted spreadsheets;

 

b.      unredacted resumes of candidates who were interviewed for the position of Operations Manager;

 

c.       recommendations or letters of reference concerning candidates who were interviewed for the position of Operations Manager; and

 

d.      documents concerning the decision-making process in choosing the candidate hired for the position of Operations Manager.

 

9.      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 … whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

10.   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.

 

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

 

12.   It is found that the records described in paragraph 8, above, are public records within the meaning of  1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

13.   The respondent contends that the records described in paragraph 8, above, are exempt from mandatory disclosure pursuant to 1-213(b)(2), G.S., which provides in relevant part that:

 

Nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be deemed in any manner to … [r]equire disclosure of any record of a personnel search committee which, because of name or other identifying information, would reveal the identity of an executive level employment candidate without the consent of such candidate.

 

14.    Section 1-200(7), G.S., defines “personnel search committee,” as:

 

[A] body appointed by a public agency, whose sole purpose is to recommend to the appointing agency a candidate or candidates for an executive-level employment position.

 

15.   It is found that the respondent convened a three-person committee, of which the respondent was a member, whose sole purpose was to recommend a first-choice candidate for the position of Operations Manager and to rank the other candidates in order of preference, in case the first-choice candidate did not accept the offered position.

 

16.   It is found that the committee functioned solely to interview applicants and select a candidate for the position of Operations Manager.

 

17.   It is found that the position of Operations Manager is an executive level employment position, within the meaning of 1-200(7) and 1-213(b)(2), G.S.

 

18.   It is found that the committee, described in paragraphs 15 and 16, above, is a personnel search committee, within the meaning of 1-200(7), G.S.

 

19.   It is found that the records described in paragraph 8, above, are records of a personnel search committee, within the meaning of 1-213(b)(2), G.S.  It is further found that the respondent maintains such records in his capacity as a member of such committee.

 

20.    It is found that disclosure of the records described in paragraph 8, above, would reveal the name or other identifying information of candidates for the position of Operations Manager.

 

21.    It is found that the respondent does not have the consent of any candidate to reveal his or her identity.

 

22.   Accordingly, it is concluded that, pursuant to 1-213(b)(2), G.S., the respondent is not required to disclose the records described in paragraph 8, above.

 

23.   It is further concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act by refusing to provide to the complainant copies of the records described in paragraph 8, above.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 12, 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:

 

Kimberlee A. Morton

464 Old Cellar Road

Orange, CT 06477

 

General Manager, Greater

Bridgeport Transit Authority

c/o Patricia C. Sullivan, Esq.

Cohen and Wolf, PC

1115 Broad Street

PO Box 1821

Bridgeport, CT 06601-1821

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2007-202FD/paj/9/20/2007