FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Albert S. Karpus,  
  Complainant  
  against  

Docket #FIC 2009-233

Chief, Police Department,

City of Bridgeport; and

Police Department,

City of Bridgeport,

 
  Respondents March 24, 2010
       

           

The above-captioned matter was scheduled to be heard as a contested case on August 3, 2009, at which time the complainant appeared but the respondents failed to appear.  The matter was then heard as a contested case on September 10, 2009, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter of complaint filed April 21, 2009, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying his request for copies of public records.     

 

3.  It is found that, by two memoranda each dated March 26, 2009, the complainant asked that the respondents provide him with:

 

     a.      “all documentation generated by the City’s psychologist, including his findings of my Fitness for Duty Psychological Evaluation subsequent to his examination, conducted on Monday, December 8, 2008”; and

 

     b.      “all completed reports and supporting documentation … describing my behavior, which led to [Chief Gaudett’s] “Fitness for Duty Evaluation Order ….”; and

 

     c.      “all completed command level and Office of Internal Affairs’ investigations originating from my complaint ….”

 

4.  It is found that the records dispute in this matter arises out of the respondent Chief’s referring the complainant for a fitness for duty evaluation during the time that the respondent Police Department was subject to a remedy ordered by the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, overseen by a Special Master.  The complainant was found fit for duty.  The Special Master then, in December 2008, ordered that the Police Department provide him a report specifying the person or persons responsible for referring Sergeant Karpus for an independent psychological examination, because the Special Master was concerned that the Chief’s actions may have been retaliatory.  The Police Department responded to that order on January 15, 2009.

 

5.  It is found that the respondents provided records responsive to the request described in paragraph 3.a, above, in April of 2009.

 

6.  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.

 

            7.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part: 

 

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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

8.  It is concluded that the requested records, to the extent they exist, are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

            9.  It is found that, as of the date of the hearing in this matter, no documents existed that were responsive to paragraphs 3.b and 3.c, above, because the respondents had not completed the reports and investigations requested by the complainant.

 

10.  The complainant contends that more documentation should exist concerning his alleged unfitness for duty.

 

11.  It is found that the respondents conducted a diligent search for any other records responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

12.  It is found that the respondents, because of the Special Master’s order, had every reason to search thoroughly for any records that would form a basis for the fitness for duty evaluation order. 

 

            13.  The essence of the complainant’s complaint is that what he requested was not documented.

 

            14.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.

 

            15.  At the hearing, the respondents pledged to provide the complainant with all completed investigations and reports to which he was entitled, once those investigations and reports were completed.

 

            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 regular meeting of March 24, 2010.

 

 

____________________________

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:

 

Albert S. Karpus

6 Hockanum Court

Beacon Falls, CT 06403

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of Bridgeport; and

Police Department,

City of Bridgeport

C/o Betsy A. Edwards, Esq.

Associate City Attorney

Office of the City Attorney

999 Broad Street, 2nd Floor

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-233FD/sw/3/26/2010