FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Mike Sikoski,   
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-242
Town Clerk, Town of Mansfield,  
  Respondent March 9, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 6, 2010, at which time the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.           The complainant failed to appear.

           

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.  By letter of complaint filed April 15, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide copies of certain federal tax forms.

 

3. It is found that the complainant made a March 23, 2010 request to the respondent “for W-9’s [sic] for the Fire Chief, Fire Marshal, Building Director, Town Manager, Public Works Director, and Public Works Superintendent.”

 

4. It is also found that the complainant on March 24, 2010 corrected his request to specify “W-2’s or 1099’s” for the same individuals.

 

5.  It is found that no 1099 forms exist for any of the individuals described in the request, since all were paid as employees of the town of Mansfield, not as independent contractors for whom a form 1099 is used.

 

6.  It is found that respondent compiled and provided on March 31, 2010 an excerpt from a Finance Department spreadsheet that identified the employees that had personal use of a town automobile, and the amount reported to the IRS as gross income for the use of an automobile. However, the respondent did not provide the requested W-2 forms, after being informed by the Federal Internal Revenue Service Disclosure office that W-2 forms are exempt from disclosure.

 

7.  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.

 

8.  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. 

 

9.  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.”

 

10.  It is found that the requested W-2 forms are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

11. Section 1-210(b)(10) provides in relevant part that disclosure is not required of “Records, tax returns, reports and statements exempted by federal law or state statutes ….”

 

12.  Section 1-210(b)(2) provides that disclosure is not required of “[p]ersonnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.”

 

13. The Commission has repeatedly concluded that W-2 forms and, in general, information concerning taxpayer withholding, deduction, exemption or any other taxpayer information, are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(10) or 1-210(b)(2).  See, e.g.,  McKeon v. Hebron, Docket #FIC 2004-197; McDonald v. Department of Correction, Docket #FIC 1990-326; Rettman v. Meriden Police Department, Docket #FIC 1997-330; Mastroianni v. Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, Docket #FIC 1991-378.

 

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

 

 

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 9, 2011.

 

__________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

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:

 

Mike Sikoski

135 Wildwood Road

Storrs, CT  06268

 

Town Clerk, Town of Mansfield

c/o Dennis O’Brien, Esq.

O’Brien & Johnson

120 Bolivia Street

Willimantic, CT  06226

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-242/FD/cac/3/11/2011