FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|Edward C. Favolise,|
|against||Docket #FIC 2008-588|
Director, Highville Charter
School; and Board of Directors,
Highville Charter School,
|Respondents||June 10, 2009|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 21, 2009, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, the matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2008-491; Edward C. Favolise v. Board of Directors, Highville Charter School, Inc.
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, by letter dated July 31, 2008, the complainant made a request to the respondents for copies of the following records:
a. A copy of meeting minutes from the Highville Board of Directors (Board) Finance Committee held on May 13, 2008;
b. A copy of the meeting minutes and the tape recording(s) made at the Board meeting held on June 14, 2008;
c. A copy of the notice given to Ed Favolise that his performance would be discussed at the Board meeting on June 14, 2008;
d. A copy of the agenda posting and minutes of the meeting at which the Board decided that William Troy would replace Ed Favolise as the Director of the Highville Charter School commencing July 1, 2008;
e. A copy of the contract of employment for William Troy to serve as Highville’s Director commencing July 1, 2008;
f. A copy of the contract of employment for S. Nash to serve as Highville’s Associate Director commencing June 14, 2008;
g. Evidence of Board compliance with Board policy 4112 in its hiring of Highville’s new director and associate director for the 08/09 academic year. Specifically, how the board complied with the requirement that “. . . the Board shall create a committee of teachers, staff, Board members, parents, and administrators. . . to screen all applicants for open positions. Following the initial screening the committee shall determine which candidate(s) shall be interviewed. Following the interview process the committee shall recommend to the Board which candidate(s) should move forward to the Board interview process”;
h. A copy of the evaluation completed for Highville’s 2007/08 Director Favolise, in compliance with Board policy 4112.1;
i. Evidence of the criteria and decision making process the Board used to comply with policy 4112.2 that it, “. . . shall attempt to appoint the person who will be most valuable to the school program in its decision to select William Troy as opposed to Edward Favolise as the new Director of the Highville Charter School”;
j. A copy of the petition and any other correspondence received from any and all Highville employees and parents concerning the spring 2008 search for a Director and Associate Director for Highville.
k. Evidence of Board compliance with Board policy 1110.1(a) in the search and selection of the new administration engaged for the 2008/09 academic year at Highville Charter School;
l. As referenced on the Vacancy Announcement, an item by item analysis of the “Qualifications and Responsibilities” presented by Ed Favolise vs. William Troy for the position of Director and the rationale applied by the Board in its determination that William Troy was more qualified for the Director’s position than Ed Favolise;
m. A copy of the legal opinion provided by Attorney Murphy and distributed to and/or discussed with the Board at the request of Board member Alexis Highsmith near the end of the administrative search process concerning qualifications and other related matters pertinent to the search; and
n. A copy of meeting agenda, written minutes, and the tape recording(s) made at the Board meeting held on July 16, 2008.
3. By letter dated August 5, 2008, the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s request for records, and stated that they were in the process of searching for responsive records. The respondents also stated that, once the responsive records were gathered, they would have to review them to determine the applicability of any exemptions. The respondents stated that they would contact the complainant once this process was complete.
4. By letter of complaint dated September 6, 2008, and filed September 9, 2008, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by not complying with his request for records. In his complaint, the complainant requested that the respondents be ordered to produce the responsive records in a timely manner.
5. Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:
“Public records or files” means 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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
7. Section 1-212(a)(1), 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.
8. It is found that, to the extent that the respondents maintain the records described in paragraph 2, above, the records are “public records” and must be disclosed in accordance with §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), unless they are exempt from disclosure.
9. It is found that the respondents had no records in their possession responsive to the complainant’s request as described in paragraphs 2.c; 2.e; 2.g; 2.h; 2.k; 2.l; and 2.m, above.
10. It is found that the respondents had no records in their possession responsive to the complainant’s request for “tapes,” as requested in paragraph 2.n, above.
11. It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the disclosure provisions of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., with respect to the portions of the request identified in paragraphs 9 and 10, above.
12. It is found, that, on September 22, 2008, the respondents provided the complainant with records responsive to his requests described in paragraphs 2.a, 2.d, 2.f, 2.i, and 2.j, above, and provided him with the “agenda” and the “written minutes” described in paragraph 2.n, above.
13. It is found, that, on October 10, 2008, the respondents provided the complainant with the records responsive to his request described in paragraph 2.b, above.
14. It is found that, other than the records already produced to the complainant as described in paragraphs 12 and 13, above, there are no other records responsive to the complainant’s request.
15. It is found that the almost two-month time span between the complainant’s request for records and the respondents’ first production of responsive records to the complainant was unreasonably long. It is further found that the more than two-month time span between the complainant’s request for records and the respondents’ second production of responsive records to the complainant was also unreasonably long.
16. It is therefore concluded that the respondents violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with copies of the requested records promptly.
17. Because the complainant is already in possession of all of the records responsive to his request, the remedy that the complainant requested the Commission issue in this case, as stated in paragraph 4, above, is moot.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness requirements of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 10, 2009.
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:
Director, Highville Charter
School; and Board of Directors,
Highville Charter School
C/o Daniel P. Murphy, Esq.
Siegel, O’Connor, O’Donnell & Beck, P.C.
150 Trumbull Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Acting Clerk of the Commission