FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Naimah Shabazz,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-223
Corporation Counsel, City of Hartford;
and City of Hartford,
 
  Respondents February 11, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 3, 2008, October 6, 2008, and November 17, 2008, at which times the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  On November 17, 2008, Nereida Perez and Lydia Rosario moved without objection to intervene as party respondents.  Ms. Perez and Ms. Rosario were granted party status, having satisfied the requirements of 1-21j-30 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1.      The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

2.      It is found that on February 25, 2008, the complainant made a request in writing for copies of records from the respondents.  It is found that the complainant requested, among other things:

a.       Personnel and disciplinary records of Nereida Perez and Lydia Rosario,

b.      Written policies, procedures, and personnel information about employees of the City of Hartford Tax Office, including job descriptions, evaluations, p-card purchase for travel, dates of hire and dates and records of resignation and/or termination,

c.       Records concerning all approvals of interest waivers,

d.      Records concerning delinquent taxes,

e.       Affirmative Action statistics for the Tax Office,

f.       City of Hartford Hiring Policy changes since 2003, and

g.      A copy of the policy for hiring off the certification list.

3.      It is found that the respondents received the complainant’s request for records on February 27, 2008.  It is further found that the respondents failed to respond to the complainant’s request for records.

4.      By letter postmarked April 1, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide any of the records she requested.

5.   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.

 

6.   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 the provisions of section 1-212. 

 

7.   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...”

 

8.   It is found that the records requested by the complainant, described in paragraph 2, above, are public records, to the extent that they exist.

 

9.   Section 1-206, G.S., provides, in relevant part: 

 

(a)    Any denial of the right to inspect or copy records provided for under section 1-210 shall be made to the person requesting such right by the public agency official who has custody or control of the public record, in writing, within four business days of such request. … Failure to comply with a request to so inspect or copy such public record within the applicable number of business days shall be deemed to be a denial.

 

(b)   (1)  Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210 … may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission.  A notice of appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after such denial… For purposes of this subsection, such notice of appeal shall be deemed to be filed on the date it is received by said commission or on the date it is postmarked, if received more than thirty days after the date of the denial from which such appeal is taken.

 

10. It is found that the respondents failed to comply with the complainant’s written request for copies of records within four business days of their receipt of her request.  It is found, therefore, that the respondents are deemed to have denied the complainant’s request on March 4, 2008.

 

11.   It is found that the complainant’s appeal to the FOI Commission was postmarked within 30 days of the respondents’ denial of her request for records.

 

12.   It is concluded, therefore, that the complainant’s appeal to this Commission was timely filed, pursuant to 1-206, G.S.

 

13.   With respect to the complainant’s request for the personnel records of the intervenors, the respondents claimed, generally, that such records were exempt from mandatory disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(2), G.S., which provides in relevant part that nothing in the FOI Act shall require the disclosure of  “personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy. . . .”

 

14. The Supreme Court set forth the test for the exemption contained in 1-210(b)(2), G.S., in Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158, 175 (1993).   The claimant must first establish that the files in question are personnel, medical or similar files.  Second, the claimant must show that disclosure of the records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.  In determining whether disclosure would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, the claimant must establish both of two elements: first, that the information sought does not pertain to legitimate matters of public concern, and second, that the disclosure of such information is highly offensive to a reasonable person.  The Commission takes administrative notice of the multitude of court rulings, commission final decisions,1 and instances of advice given by the Commission staff members,2 which have relied upon the Perkins test, since its release in 1993.

 

15.   Section 1-214(b), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

Whenever a public agency receives a request to inspect or copy records contained in any of its employees' personnel or medical files and similar files and the agency reasonably believes that the disclosure of such records would legally constitute an invasion of privacy, the agency shall immediately notify in writing (1) each employee concerned … Nothing herein shall require an agency to withhold from disclosure the contents of personnel or medical files and similar files when it does not reasonably believe that such disclosure would legally constitute an invasion of personal privacy. [Emphasis added.]

 

16.   It is found that the respondents did not notify the employees concerned until July 23, 2008, nearly five months after the complainant made her written request for copies of the employees’ personnel files.

 

17.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated the notice requirement of 1-214 (b), G.S.

 

18.   It is found that the respondents failed to review the intervenors’ personnel files at all in response to the complainant’s request.  It is further found that the respondents failed to prove that they evaluated the complainant’s request to determine whether it was reasonable to believe that disclosure of the requested personnel records would legally constitute an invasion of privacy, within the meaning of 1-210(b)(2), G.S.

 

19.   It is concluded that the respondents violated 1-214(b), G.S., by withholding personnel records without first having reviewed the employees’ personnel records to determine whether disclosure would legally constitute an invasion of privacy.

 

20.   It is further found that even if the respondents had conducted such a review, it would not be reasonable to believe that disclosure of the records that the complainant requested from the employees’ personnel records would legally constitute an invasion of privacy, because the records relate to routine personnel matters or to employee discipline, and such records would not be exempt according to the test described in paragraph 14, above.    

 

21.   It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents violated 1-214(b), G.S., by withholding from disclosure the contents of personnel files when it did not reasonably believe that such disclosure would legally constitute an invasion of privacy.

 

22.  Section 1-214(c), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

A public agency which has provided notice under subsection (b) of this section shall disclose the records requested unless it receives a written objection from the employee concerned … within seven business days from the receipt by the employee …Each objection filed under this subsection shall be on a form prescribed by the public agency, which shall consist of a statement to be signed by the employee … under the penalties of false statement, that to the best of his knowledge, information and belief there is good ground to support it and that the objection is not interposed for delay. Upon the filing of an objection as provided in this subsection, the agency shall not disclose the requested records unless ordered to do so by the Freedom of Information Commission pursuant to section 1-206.

 

23.   It is found that the intervenors filed an objection to disclosure of their personnel files on July 23, 2008.  It is found that the intervenors stated that there was good ground to support their objection and that the objection was not interposed for delay.  It is found that the intervenors did sign their statement under the penalties of false statement, as required by 1-214(c), G.S.

 

24.  It is found that Intervenor Perez testified that the complainant’s request was “insulting…a waste of my time and the city’s time, and a perfect example of the FOI [Act] being abused.”  It is found, furthermore, that Intervenor Perez asserted that the decision to release her personnel records was hers to make.  It is found that Intervenor Rosario objected to disclosure of her personnel file because the information “should be private” and because she believed that the complainant’s motives in making her request were to satisfy a “personal vendetta.”

 

25.  Accordingly, it is found that the intervenors’ assertion of  “good ground” to support their objections to disclosure of their personnel files is not credible.  It is concluded, therefore, that 1-214 (c), G.S., did not authorize the respondents to withhold the requested records.

 

26.   It is found that neither the respondents nor the intervenors submitted credible evidence that disclosure of the records in the personnel files requested by the complainant would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and of no legitimate public interest.  It is concluded that the intervenors and respondents failed to prove that disclosure of the intervenors’ personnel files would constitute an invasion of the intervenors’ personal privacy, within the meaning of 1-210(b)(2), G.S.

 

27.  It is found that many of the records that the complainant requested were not personnel, medical or similar files.  It is found that the respondents, nevertheless, failed to provide a single copy of any record to the complainant in response to her request for records.  It is found, furthermore, that respondent corporation counsel and the complainant communicated about her request for records, but the respondents never provided any records.

 

28.  It is found that the respondents did not perform even a cursory search to determine which records they maintained were responsive to the complainant’s request.  It is further found that by the third evidentiary hearing in this matter, nearly nine months after the complainant’s request, the respondents still had made no effort to comply with the complainant’s request, even with respect to the records to which the respondents had no objection to disclosure.

 

29.   It is concluded that the respondents abdicated their duty under the FOI Act to provide prompt access to public records, and that such neglect was not in good faith.

 

30.  It is concluded, accordingly, that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to provide to the complainant copies of any of the records she requested.

 

31.  With respect to the several continuances of the evidentiary hearing in this matter, it is found that all delays were solely the respondents’ fault, because they failed to follow the notice requirements of 1-214(c) and 1-206(b)(1), G.S.

 

32.  Section 1-206(b)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

In the case of the denial of a request to inspect or copy records contained in a public employee's personnel or medical file or similar file under subsection (c) of section 1-214, the commission shall include with its notice or order an order requiring the public agency to notify any employee whose records are the subject of an appeal … of the commission's proceedings and, if any such employee … has filed an objection under said subsection (c), the agency shall provide the required notice to such employeeby certified mail, return receipt requested or by hand delivery with a signed receipt.  A public employee whose personnel or medical file or similar file is the subject of an appeal under this subsection may intervene as a party in the proceedings on the matter before the commission. 

 

33.   It is found that the FOI Commission included with its August 7, 2008 Order to Show Cause to the respondents an appropriate order pursuant to 1-206(b)(1), G.S.

 

34.  It is found that on July 23, 2008, the employees objected to disclosure of their personnel files. 

 

35.   It is found that the respondents failed to provide proper notice to the employees of the September 3, 2008 proceedings of the Commission.  It is found that neither employee appeared at the September 3, 2008 hearing.  It is found, moreover, that such hearing was continued solely so that Ms. Perez and Ms. Rosario could seek legal counsel and attend the hearing, if they wished to do so. 

 

36.  It is found that counsel for the respondents also failed to provide proper notice to Ms. Perez and Ms. Rosario of the proceedings on October 6, 2008, and refused to provide any notice of further proceedings until ordered to do so by the Hearing Officer.  It is found that neither employee appeared at the October 6, 2008 hearing.

 

37.  It is concluded that the respondents violated 1-206(b)(1), G.S., by failing to provide proper notice to Ms. Perez and Ms. Rosario of the FOI proceedings in this matter on September 3, 2008 and October 6, 2008.

 

38.  It is found that the complainant was present and prepared to go forward on September 3, 2008 and on October 6, 2008, as well as on November 17, 2008.  It is further found that the continuances frustrated and dismayed the complainant, who has waited since February for access to any of the records she requested.   It is further found that the respondents’ recalcitrance and negligence in complying with her request for records required her to take two days off from work unnecessarily.

 

39.  Section 206(b)(2), G.S., also provides,

 

[U]pon the finding that a denial of any right created by the Freedom of Information Act was without reasonable grounds and after the custodian or other official directly responsible for the denial has been given an opportunity to be heard at a hearing conducted in accordance with sections 4-176e to 4-184, inclusive, the commission may, in its discretion, impose against the custodian or other official a civil penalty of not less than twenty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.”

 

 

40.  It is found that the respondents are directly responsible for the violations of the FOI Act and for the losses incurred by the complainant in enforcing her statutory rights.  It is also found that neither the respondents nor the intervenors acted with reasonable grounds.  Nevertheless, because the complainant did not request the imposition of a civil penalty, and because the Commission believes that other relief is more appropriate, the Commission in its discretion declines to impose a civil penalty on the respondents for their violation of the FOI Act, although such civil penalty is clearly warranted.  

 

41.  Section 206(b)(2), G.S., provides,

 

In any appeal to the Freedom of Information Commission … the commission may confirm the action of the agency or order the agency to provide relief that the commission, in its discretion, believes appropriate to rectify the denial of any right conferred by the Freedom of Information Act.

 

See, Ethics Comm'n v. FOI Comm'n, CV074012708, New Britain J.D., at New Britain, Nov. 28, 2007, Owens, J.T.R. (“This language establishes that the commission has a broad, discretionary authority to craft remedies for violations of the Act.”)

 

42.  The Commission believes that the relief appropriate to rectify the denial of the complainant’s right to prompt access to the records she requested is to hold the respondents accountable for the delay in access for which they are responsible.

 

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

 

1.      The respondents forthwith shall conduct a prompt search for all of the records requested by the complainant, described in paragraph 2, above.  After a prompt and diligent search, the respondents shall provide the complainant with an affidavit as to the records they do not maintain, and, if applicable, as to the search they performed to try to find such records.  The respondents shall promptly provide access to and/or copies, at the discretion of the complainant, of all other records requested by the complainant, including the intervenors’ personnel files free of charge.

2.      Forthwith, the respondents, or their designee, shall arrange for an FOI Act training session to be conducted by the staff of the FOI Commission.  The respondents or their designee shall forthwith contact the FOI Commission’s staff to schedule such training session.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 11, 2009.

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

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:

 

Naimah Shabazz

PO Box 1683

Hartford, CT 06144

 

Corporation Counsel, City of Hartford

c/o John Rose, Jr., Esq.

Office of the Corporation Counsel

550 Main Street

Hartford, CT 06103

 

City of Hartford

c/o J. Hanson Guest, Esq.

Guest and Associates

151 New Park Avenue

Hartford, CT 06106

 

Intervenors

 

Lydia Rosario

550 Main Street

Room 100

Hartford, CT 06106

 

and

 

Nereida Perez

550 Main Street

Room 100

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2008-223FD/sw/2/24/2009

 

 

1.  ENDNOTES

 

A. Court cases

 

Payne v. City of Danbury, 267 Conn. 669 (2004); Director, Retirement & Benefits Services Div. v. FOIC, 256 Conn. 764 (2001); Rocque v. FOIC, 255 Conn. 651 (2001); Dept. of Public Safety v FOIC, 242 Conn. 79 (1997); Conn. Alcohol & Drug Abuse Commission v. FOIC, 233 Conn.28 (1995); Kurecza v. FOIC, 228 Conn. 271 (1994); First Selectman v. FOIC, 60 Conn. App. 64 (2000); Dept. of Children & Families v. FOIC, 48 Conn. App. 467 (1998); Almeida v. FOIC, 39 Conn. App. 154 (1995); Dept. of Transportation v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 01-0508810 (Schuman, J. 2001); City Treasurer, City of Hartford v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 99 0496222 (Cohn, J. 2000); Rocque, Commissioner of Environmental Protection v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 98 0492734 (Hartmere, J. 1999); Director, Retirement & Benefits Services Div. v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 98 0492692 (Hartmere, J. 1999); First Selectman, Town of Ridgefield v. FOIC, Super Ct JD NB CV 99‑0493041 (McWeeny, J. 1999); Chairman, Bd. of Education Town of Darien v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB CV 97 0575674 (McWeeny, J. 1998); Waters, Commissioner of State of Conn. Dept. of Administrative Services v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB CV 96 0565853 (McWeeny, J. 1997); Armstrong, Commissioner of State of Conn. Dept. Of Correction v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB CV 96 0563608 (McWeeny, J. 1997); Dept. of Children & Families v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB CV 96 0562546 (McWeeny, J. 1997); State of Conn. Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB CV 95 0554467 (McWeeny, J. 1997); Youngquist v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 95 0554601 (McWeeny, J. 1996 and 1997); Cracco v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 94 0705371 (Dunnell, J. 1995); Cracco v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB, CV 93 0705370, (Dunnell, J. 1995); Cracco v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd NB, CV 94 0705369, (Dunnell, J. 1995); Simonds v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 93 070 41 39 (Maloney, J. 1994); Gallagher v. FOIC, Super Ct JD Htfd/NB, CV 93 0531514 (Maloney, J. 1994).

 

 

B. FOIC Decisions

 

Docket #FIC 2003-285;  Frank C. Violissi, Jr. v. First Selectman, Town of Chester (May 26, 2004); Docket #FIC 2003-074; Heather M. Henderson v. State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Legal Affairs Department (Dec. 10, 2003); Docket #FIC 2003-020; Hugh Curran v. Mayor, City of Waterbury (Sept. 10, 2003); Docket #FIC 2002-580; Ken Byron and The Hartford Courant v. First Selectman, Town of Westbrook (Sept. 10, 2003); Docket #FIC 2003-038 Chris Dehnel and The Journal Inquirer v.  First Selectman, Town of Ellington (Aug. 27, 2003); Docket #FIC 2002-531Chris Dehnel and Journal Inquirer First Selectman, Town of Ellington (Aug. 27, 2003); Docket #FIC 2003-055; Robert Mack v. Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction, Labor Relations (July 23, 2003); Docket #FIC 2002-345; Josh Kovner, Chris Keating, and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Police Department, City of Middletown (July 23, 2003); Docket #FIC 2002-338; Amy L. Zitka and The Middletown Press v. Chief, Police Department, City of Middletown; and Professional Standards Unit Supervisor, Police Department, City of Middletown (July 23, 2003); Docket #FIC 2002-465; Fred Radford v. Chairman, Police Commission, Town of Trumbull; and Chief, Police Department, Town of Trumbull (July 9, 2003); Docket #FIC 2002-118; Kimberly W. Moy and the Hartford Courant v. Superintendent of Schools, Southington Public Schools (Feb. 26, 2003); Docket #FIC 2002-020; Maurice Timothy Reidy and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Newington and Brendan Fitzgerald (Oct. 23, 2002); Docket #FIC 2001-489 Jonathan Kellogg, Trip Jennings and Waterbury Republican-American Chief, Police Department, Borough of Naugatuck and Rick Smolicz (Sept. 25, 2002); Docket #FIC 2002-173; Carrie J. Campion v. Director, Department of Human Resources, Town of Fairfield (Aug. 28, 2002); Docket #FIC 2001-425 Joseph Mincewicz, Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police (Aug. 28, 2002); Docket #FIC 2001-421 Jean M. Morningstar and University Health Professionals Local 3837, AFT-CFEPE, AFL-CIO v. Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut Health Center; and State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut Health Center; and Justin Radolf, M.D., Director, Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center (Aug. 28, 2002); Docket #FIC 2002-093 Sean P. Turpin v. Director, Department of Human Resources, Town of Greenwich and Steve Demetri (July 24, 2002); Docket #FIC 2002-034; MariAn Gail Brown, Michael P. Mayko and Connecticut Post Michael Lupkas, Comptroller, City of Bridgeport; Christopher Duby, Chief of Staff, City of Bridgeport; Mark Anastasi, City Attorney, City of Bridgeport; and Gregory Conte, Deputy Chief of Staff, City of Bridgeport (June 26, 2002); Docket #FIC 2001-364; Karen Guzman and The Hartford Courant v. City of New Britain Docket (June 26, 2002); Docket #FIC 2001-180 James H. Smith and The Record Journal Publishing Company v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police (Feb. 13, 2002); Docket #FIC 2001-129; Kimberly W. Moy and The Hartford Courant v. Police Commission, Town of Southington (Feb. 13, 2002); Docket #FIC 2001-251 Fred Radford v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Trumbull (Jan. 23, 2002); Docket #FIC 2000-624; Eric Gustavson v. Board of Education, Brookfield Public Schools (June 13, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-557; Wendy John v. Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General, State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General; Wil Gundling, William McCullough, Phillip Schulz, Margaret Chapple, Assistant Attorneys General, State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General; and State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General (June 13, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-268; Michael Costanza and The Day v. Director of Utilities, Utilities Department, City of Groton; and Mayor, City of Groton (April 25, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-198; William J. Stone v. Personnel Administrator, State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Finance and Administration; and State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation (April 20, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-537; James Leonard, Jr. v. Chief, Police Department, City of New Britain (March 28, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-348; Bradshaw Smith v. Office of the Vice Chancellor for Information Services, State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut; and State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut (February 28, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-474; Robert H. Boone and Journal Inquirer v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks (Jan. 24, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-265; Lisa Goldberg and The Hartford Courant v. Superintendent of Schools, Vernon Public Schools (Jan. 24, 2001); Docket #FIC 2000-569; Mary Hyde v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Seymour (Dec. 13, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-049; Nicholas B. Wynnick v. Board of Directors, Ansonia Public Library, Town of Ansonia (Dec. 13, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-136; Thomas E. Lee v. Board of Education, Trumbull Public Schools; and Superintendent of Schools, Trumbull Public Schools (Nov. 29, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-135; Thomas E. Lee v. Board of Education, Trumbull Public Schools; and Superintendent of Schools, Trumbull Public Schools (Nov. 29, 2000); Docket #FIC2000-086; Mitchell D. Poudrier v. Superintendent of Schools, Killingly Public Schools (Sept. 13, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-173; Robert H. Boone and the Journal Inquirer v. Anthony Milano, District Manager, Metropolitan District Commission; and Metropolitan District Commission (Aug. 23, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-094; James D. Goodwin v. Communications Specialist, State of Connecticut, Department of Social Services, Public and Government Relations Unit (Aug. 9, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-022; Thedress Campbell v. City Treasurer, City of Hartford (Aug. 9, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-137; Robert H. Boone and Journal Inquirer v. Metropolitan District Commission (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-560; Leo F. Smith v. Robert H. Skinner, First Selectman, Town of Suffield; and Selectmen’s Office, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-556; Delores Annicelli v. Director, New Haven Housing Authority, City of New Haven; and New Haven Housing Authority, City of New Haven (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-548; Leo F. Smith v. John P. Lange, Human Resources Director, Town of Suffield; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-547; Leo F. Smith v. John P. Lange, Human Resources Director, Town of Suffield; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-525; Leo F. Smith v. John P. Lange, Human Resources Director, Town of Suffield; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Suffield (July 12, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-118; Elizabeth Ganga and Connecticut Post v. Police Department, Town of Stratford (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-095; Ron Robillard and the Chronicle v. Chairman, Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools; and Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-093; Megan J. Bard and The Norwich Bulletin v. Chairman, Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools; and Board of Education, Eastford Public Schools (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-575; Bruce Kaz v. Robert Skinner, First Selectman, Town of Suffield; and Ted Flanders, Building Inspector, Town of Suffield (June 28, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-519; Robert J. Fortier v. Personnel Director, Town of East Hartford; and Mayor, Town of East Hartford (June 14, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-550; James and Susanne Milewski v. Deputy Chief, Police Department, Town of Clinton; and Police Department, Town of Clinton (May 24, 2000); Docket #FIC 2000-005; Fred B. Feins v. President and Chief Executive Officer, Granby Ambulance Association, Inc., Town of Granby (May 10, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-606; Robert L. Corraro and IBEW Local 90 v. Town Attorney, Town of Hamden; and Electrical Contractors, Inc. (May 10, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-533; Donald J. Lanouette, Jr. v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Madison; and Police Department, Town of Madison (April 26, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-502; Christopher Hoffman and New Haven Register v. Director of Personnel, State of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University; and Personnel Office, State of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University (April 26, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-440; Anne Hamilton and The Hartford Courant James Martino, Chief, Police Department, Town of Avon; Peter A. Agnesi, Lieutenant, Police Department, Town of Avon; and Police Department, Town of Avon (March 8, 2000); Docket #FIC1999-333; Lynn Fredricksen and New Haven Register v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Madison; and Police Department, Town of Madison (March 8, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-289; Thomas Moran v. Director, Human Resources, Town of Simsbury; and Department of Human Resources, Town of Simsbury (Feb. 9, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-328; Victor Zigmund v. Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Human Resources Operations, Connecticut Valley Hospital, Whiting Forensic Division (Jan. 26, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-100; Janice D’Arcy and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Cheshire; Police Department, Town of Cheshire; Town Manager, Town of Cheshire; and Town of Cheshire (Jan. 26, 2000); Docket #FIC 1999-355; Wayne Mercier v. Patricia C. Washington, Director of Personnel, City of Hartford; and Department of Personnel, City of Hartford (Nov. 10, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-391; Jonathan F. Kellogg and The Republican American v. Department of Education, City of Waterbury (Oct. 13, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-161; Michael W. Cahill v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Hamden; and Police Department, Town of Hamden (Sept. 22, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-294; Robert J. Bourne v. Department of Public Utilities, City of Norwich, and City of Norwich (Sept. 22, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-293; Joseph J. Cassidy v. Department of Public Utilities, City of Norwich, and City of Norwich (Sept. 22, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-040; Judith F. Machuga and State of Connecticut, Division of Public Defender Services, Superior Court, G.A. 13 v. Chief, Police Department, Town of East Windsor; and Police Department, Town of East Windsor (Aug. 25, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-144; Robert H. Boone and Journal Inquirer v. William Gifford, Chief, Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks; Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks; and Windsor Locks Police Commission (July 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-096; Paul Marks and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks; and Police Department, Town of Windsor Locks (July 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-064; Joan Coe v. First Selectman, Town of Simsbury; Director, Human Resources Department, Town of Simsbury; and Town of Simsbury (July 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-150; Andrew Nargi v. Office of Corporation Counsel, City of Torrington; and City of Torrington (July 14, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-135; Warren Woodberry, Jr. and The Hartford Courant v. Acting Town Manager, Town of Rocky Hill and Town of Rocky Hill (July 14, 1999); Docket #FIC 1999-015; Richard Manuel Rivera v. Superintendent of Schools, Torrington Public Schools; and Board of Education, Torrington Public Schools (June 9, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-372; William C. Kaempffer and New Haven Register v. Police Department, City of New Haven; City of New Haven; and James Sorrentino (June 9, 1999); Docket #FIC 1997-361; Dominick L. Santarsiero v. Director, Human Resources, City of Stamford (June 10, 1998); Docket #FIC 1999-019; David K. Jaffe v. State of Connecticut, Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Human Resources; State of Connecticut, Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Security Division; and State of Connecticut, Connecticut Lottery Corporation (April 28, 1999); Docket #FIC1998-325; Virginia Groark and The Day v. Freedom of Information Officer, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health, Office of Special Services, Communications Division; and Agency Personnel Administrator, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health, Human Resources Division (April 28, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-208; Thedress Campbell v. City Treasurer, City of Hartford; and City of Hartford (April 14, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-265; Benjamin M. Wenograd and Service Employees International Union Local 760 v. John Roughan, Executive Director, East Hartford Housing Authority; and East Hartford Housing Authority, Town of East Hartford (March 24, 1999); Docket #FIC 1997-363; Diana R. Raczkowski v. Mayor, Town of Naugatuck (March 11, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-307; Krystin Bratina v. Chief, Hartford Fire Department, City of Hartford (March 11, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-288; Christian Miller and the New Haven Register v. Superintendent, Branford Public Schools; and Board of Education, Branford Public Schools (Feb. 24, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-255; Joan O’Rourke v. Chief, Police Department, City of Torrington; and Police Department, City of Torrington (Jan. 27, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-251; John Ward v. Beverly L. Durante, Personnel Administrator, Housatonic Area Regional Transit; and Housatonic Area Regional Transit (Jan. 27, 1999); Docket #FIC 1998-163; Lawrence A. Butts v. Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division; and State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division (Dec. 9, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-162; Lawrence A. Butts Chairperson, State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division; and State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resources Division (Dec. 9, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-232; Scott Clark, Amy Kertesz, Michael Gates and the Ridgefield Police Union v. First Selectman, Town of Ridgefield; and Town of Ridgefield (Nov. 18, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-193; Daniel P. Jones and The Hartford Courant v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection; and State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection (Nov. 18, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-121; Ernie Cantwell and International Association of Firefighters, Local No. 1073 v. Director, Personnel Department, City of Middletown and Personnel Department, City of Middletown (Oct. 14, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-120; Ernie Cantwell and International Association of Firefighters, Local No. 1073 v. Director, Personnel Department, City of Middletown (Oct. 14, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998‑094; Janice D'Arcy and The Hartford Courant v. Chief, Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden and Meriden Police Department (Oct. 14, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-422; Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. and Greenwich Time v. Chief, Greenwich Police Department, Town of Greenwich; and Greenwich Police Department, Town of Greenwich (Sept. 9, 1998); Docket #FIC 1998-023; Deborah Maynard v. Superintendent, Voluntown School District; and Principal, Voluntown Elementary School, Voluntown School District (Aug. 12, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-298; Allan Drury and The New Haven Register v. Chief, East Haven Police Department, Town of East Haven; and Town of East Haven (June 10, 1998); Jonathan Lucas and Greenwich Times v. Director, Department of Human Resources, Town of Greenwich; and Town of Greenwich (May 27, 1998); John C. Rettman v. Meriden Police Department, Internal Affairs Division; and Paul Rowen (May 13, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-318; Dennis Carnot v. Chief, Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden; Internal Affairs Division, Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden; Meriden Police Department, City of Meriden; and Paul Rowen (May 13, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-175; Matthew Brown, Ken Byron and The Hartford Courant v. Superintendent of Schools, Plymouth Public Schools; and Board of Education, Town of Plymouth (February 18, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-123; John Christoffersen and The Advocate v. Superintendent of Schools, Stamford Public Schools and Director of Personnel, Stamford Public Schools (Feb. 11, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-088; John B. Harkins v. Acting Town Manager, Town of Tolland (Jan. 28, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-085; Joe Johnson and Greenwich Time v. Chief of Police, Greenwich Police Department (Jan. 28, 1998); Docket #FIC 1997-142; Laura Amon v. Program Manager, Affirmative Action Division, State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation (Dec. 3, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-572; Ken Byron and The Hartford Courant v. Chief of Police, Town of Wethersfield (Nov. 12, 1997); Docket #FIC 1997-238; Kimberley A. Thomsen and the Republican-American v. Acting Superintendent, Waterbury Police Department (Oct. 29, 1997); Docket #FIC 1997-089; Steven Edelman v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Retardation; and State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Retardation (Oct. 22, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-551; Judith A. Amato v. Executive Director, New Britain Housing Authority; and New Britain Housing Authority (Aug. 27, 1997); Docket # FIC 1996-539; Ann Marie Derwin v. Legal Advisor, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety (Aug. 27, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-592; Francine Karp v. Mayor, City of Bristol; Director of Personnel, City of Bristol; and Dennis Daigneault (July 23, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-243; Joanne C. Tashjian v. Personnel Officer, State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission; and State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission (June 4, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-322;Carolyn Moreau and The Hartford Courant v. Chief of Police, Southington Police Department; and Susan Williams (May 28, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-465; John Gauger, Jr., Joseph Cadrain and Richard Westervelt v. Kenneth H. Kirschner, Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; Dawn Carnese, Legal Advisor, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; and Lt. David Werner, Commanding Officer, Troop "B", State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police (April 9, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-315; David W. Cummings v. Christopher Burnham, Treasurer, State of Connecticut (April 9, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-521; Carol Butterworth v. Town Council, Town of Tolland (March 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-421; John B. Harkins v. Chairman, Tolland Town Council (March 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-314; David W. Cummings v. Christopher Burnham, Treasurer, State of Connecticut (April 9, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-119; David W. Cummings v. Jesse M. Frankl, Chairman, State of Connecticut, Workers’ Compensation Commission (March 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-215; Alice M. Gray v. Chief of Police, Manchester Police Department, and Assistant Town Attorney, Town of Manchester (Feb. 26, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-159; Carolyn Moreau and The Hartford Courant v. Police Chief, Southington Police Department (Jan. 22, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-124; Donald H. Schiller, Michael Kelley and The Record-Journal Publishing Company v. Police Chief, Town of Southington Police Department, and Town of Southington Police Department (Jan. 22, 1997); Docket #FIC 1996-134; Betty Halibozek v. Superintendent of Schools, Middletown Public Schools; and Supervisor of Maintenance and Transportation, Board of Education, City of Middletown (Dec. 11, 1996); Docket #FIC1996-006; Joseph Cadrain and Richard Westervelt v. Gerald Gore, Legal Affairs Unit, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police (Dec. 11, 1996); Docket #FIC 1996-153; Tracey Thomas and The Hartford Courant v. Legal Affairs Unit, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety (Nov. 20, 1996); Docket #FIC1995-419; Robie Irizarry v. Warden, Willard Correctional Institution, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction (Oct. 23, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-368; Thomas Lally v. Executive Director, State of Connecticut Board of Education and Services for the Blind, and Special Projects Coordinator, State of Connecticut, Board of Education and Services for the Blind (Oct. 9, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-403; Jesse C. Leavenworth and The Hartford Courant v. Superintendent of Schools, Regional School District #7 (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-361; Christopher Hoffman and the New Haven Register v. James J. McGrath, Chief of Police, Ansonia Police Department and Eugene K. Baron, Brian Phipps, and Howard Tinney as members of the Ansonia Board of Police Commissioners (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC1995-358; Lyn Bixby and The Hartford Courant v. State of Connecticut, Department of Administrative Services (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC 1996-056; Francine Cimino v. Chief of Police, Glastonbury Police Department; Town Manager, Town of Glastonbury; and Town of Glastonbury (Sept. 25, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-343; John J. Woodcock, III v. Town Manager, Town of South Windsor (July 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-324; John J. Woodcock, III and Kathryn A. Hale v. Dana Whitman, Jr., Acting Town Manager, Town of South Windsor (July 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 95-251; Lyn Bixby & The Hartford Courant v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction (July 10, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-252; Valerie Finholm and The Hartford Courant v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Children and Families (May 22, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-193; Terence P. Sexton v. Chief of Police, Hartford Police Department (May 8, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-125; Chris Powell and Journal Inquirer v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Social Services (March 13, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-081; Bruce Bellm, Kendres Lally, Philip Cater, Peter Hughes, Carol Northrop, Brad Pellissier, Todd Higgins and Bruce Garrison v. State of Connecticut, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, Sharon Story and Marlene Fein (March 13, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-074; Jeffrey C. Cole and WFSB/TV 3 v. James Strillacci, Chief of Police, West Hartford Police Department (Jan. 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-026; Curtis R. Wood v. Director of Affirmative Action, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction (Jan. 24, 1996); Docket #FIC 1995-132; Michael A. Ingrassia v. Warden, Walker Special Management Unit, State of Connecticut Department of Correction (Dec. 27, 1995); Docket #FIC 1995-048; Jane Holfelder v. Canton Police Department (June 14, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-351; Edward A. Peruta v. O. Paul Shew, Rocky Hill Town Manager and Director of Public Safety; Donald Unwin, Mayor of Rocky Hill, William Pacelia, Deputy Mayor of Rocky Hill; and Curt Roggi, Rocky Hill Town Attorney (May 28, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-160; John Springer and The Bristol Press v. Chief of Police, Bristol Police Department (April 5, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-077; Kathryn Kranhold and The Hartford Courant v. Director, New Haven Health Department (Feb. 8, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-099; Frank Faraci, Jr. v. Middletown Police Department, Mayor of Middletown, and Middletown City Attorney (Feb. 2, 1995); Docket #FIC 1994-011; Robert Grabar, Edward Frede and The News-Times v. Superintendent of Schools, Brookfield Public Schools and Brookfield Board of Education (Aug. 24, 1994); Docket #FIC 1993-279; Jay Lewin v. New Milford Director of Finance (March 23, 1994).


 

 

2. Affidavit of Eric Turner, January 9, 2002.

 

AFFIDAVIT OF ERIC V. TURNER

 

Eric V. Turner, having been duly sworn, does hereby depose as follows:

 

1.  I am over the age of eighteen (18) years and understand the obligation of an affirmation.

 

2.  I am a member of the Connecticut Bar and am currently employed as Director of Public Education for the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, having first been employed by said commission in 1996.

 

3.  I am providing this affidavit in light of the Supreme Court decision in Director, Retirement & Benefits Services Division v. Freedom of Information Commission, 256 Conn. 764 (2001), in which the court apparently invites a reconsideration of Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158 (1993).  See, Director, supra at 782, fn 13, 785 (Zarella, J. concurring).

 

4.  As part of my responsibilities as Director of Public Education for said commission, I have developed, organized and scheduled speaking engagements, seminars and programs explaining the duties and rights established under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.

 

5.  Since I assumed my current position in 1996, there have been approximately 290 such speaking engagements, seminars and programs in Connecticut and I have personally lectured in approximately 80 such speaking engagements, seminars and programs.

 

6.  As part of the presentation I have prepared for such speaking engagements, seminars and programs, the subject of the Connecticut General Statues Section 1-210(b)(2) exemption for personnel, medical and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy is stressed because of the great interest in that exemption and the confusion generated by a series of inconsistent and contradictory court decisions prior to Perkins, supra.  See, e.g., Chairman v. Freedom of Information Commission, 217 Conn. 193 (1991) (establishing “reasonable expectation of privacy” test; query whether subjectively or objectively applied) and Board of Education v. Freedom of Information Commission, 210 Conn. 590 (1989) (confirming a “balancing” test), which was overruled by the Chairman case.

 

7.  Since the Supreme Court ruling in Perkins, supra, all Freedom of Information Commission staff members who conduct such speaking engagements, seminars and programs discuss in detail the rulings in that case and its progeny.

 

8.  As part of my responsibilities as Director of Public Education, I also answer telephone and other inquiries from public officials and the public.  Since my employment with said commission, I have answered thousands of such inquiries, including hundreds of inquiries concerning the Connecticut General Statutes Section 1-210(b)(2) exemption.  In responding to such inquiries I discuss in detail the Perkins case and its progeny.

 

9.  Based on the foregoing experiences, it is my opinion that the Perkins decision, and its progeny, have had a beneficial effect on public officials and the public itself because they can rely on a now long-standing and clear test with respect to the Connecticut General Statutes Section 1-210(b)(2) exemption, which helps them determine whether that exemption is applicable to the practical problems they encounter with respect to personnel, medical and similar information.  Indeed, the many court and Freedom of Information Commission decisions applying the Perkins test have given public officials and the public a now consistent body of law concerning that statutory exemption.

 

 

evt

Eric V. Turner

 

 

 

COUNTY OF HARTFORD

                                                            ss:  Hartford

STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

Subscribed and attested to before me this 9th day of January, 2002.

 

 

mwp

Mitchell W. Pearlman

Commissioner of the Superior Court