FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Bridgitte A. Prince,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2007-047

Director of Human Resources,

State of Connecticut Lottery Corporation,

 
  Respondent November 14, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 19, 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), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that, by facsimile dated January 10, 2007 and transmitted on the same day, the complainant requested “a copy of every FOIA request made by me to your agency from ‘The Beginning of the World,’ until 2004.”

 

3.      It is found that, by letter dated January 12, 2007, the respondent denied the complainant’s request. The letter stated, “Pursuant to a pending matter between the Connecticut Lottery Corporation and your sister, Ms. Renee Jackson, that was resolved in April of 2004, the Connecticut Lottery is no longer obligated to send you this information.”

 

4.      By letter dated January 16, 2007 and filed January 18, 2007, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying her copies of the records described in paragraph 2, above.

 

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

 

8.      At the hearing in this matter, the complainant testified that she could not remember what records she requested from the respondent, other than personnel records. She testified further that, although the scope of her request to the respondent encompassed “ ‘from the beginning of the world’ until April 2004,” she had made only about six or seven requests for records from the respondent.  It is found, however, that the complainant’s testimony was vague as to the number and substance of her requests for records from the respondent.

 

9.      It is found that the respondent has not provided to the complainant copies of the records described in paragraph 2, above.

 

10.    It is found that the respondent submitted no evidence that the records requested by the complainant qualify for exemption from mandatory disclosure under the FOI Act.

 

11.    Accordingly, it is concluded that the FOI Act does not exempt from mandatory disclosure the records described in paragraph 2, above.  It is also concluded that the respondent violated the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint. 

 

12.    After the hearing in this matter, the respondent submitted a multi-page document for in-camera inspection, which pages shall be identified herein as IC-2007-047-1 through IC-2007-047-13. The respondent described the document as a “confidential agreement.”

 

13.     The respondent contends that the terms of the confidential settlement and release permit her to deny the complainant’s request for records, described in paragraph 2, above.

 

14.    It is found that the respondent, in submitting the in-camera document, failed to cite any provision of the FOI Act or any other statute to support her contention that the document’s effect was to permit her to deny the complainant’s request for records.  Moreover, it is found that the in-camera document is not a copy of the records described in paragraph 2, above, and the respondent’s request to submit such document was improvidently granted. 

 

15.  The Commission notes that 1-214a, G.S., provides:

 

Any agreement entered into by any public agency, as defined in section 1-200, with an employee or personal services contractor providing for the termination, suspension or separation from employment of such employee or the termination or suspension of the provision of personal services by such contractor, as the case may be, that contains a confidentiality provision that prohibits or restricts such public agency from disclosing the existence of the agreement or the cause or causes for such termination, suspension or separation including, but not limited to, alleged or substantiated sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation or sexual assault by such employee or contractor, shall be subject to public disclosure under this chapter. 

 

 

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 provide the complainant with a copy of the requested records described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above, at no cost.

 

2.  Forthwith, the respondent shall make arrangement to retrieve the in-camera document described in paragraph 12, above, from the office of the Commission. 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 14, 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:

 

Bridgitte A. Prince

41 Bodwell Road

East Hartford, CT 06108

           

Director of Human Resources,

State of Connecticut Lottery Corporation

c/o Richard L. Street, Esq.

Carmody & Torrance LLP

50 Leavenworth Street

PO Box 1110

Waterbury, CT 06721-1110

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2007-047FD/paj/11/19/2007