FOI: FIC2015-255

Final Decision FIC2015-255
 
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
 
Torrey Townsend,
     Complainant
 
     against
 
Docket #FIC 2015-255
Manager of Human Resources and Benefits,
Department of Human Resources, City of
New Haven; Department of Human
Resources, City of New Haven; and
City of New Haven
     Respondents
 
 
 
 
 
February 24, 2016
 

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 16, 2015, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  This matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2015-246, Torrey Townsend v. Manager of Human Resources and Benefits, Department of Human Resources, City of New Haven et al.
 
     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 7, 2015, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with her request for public records.
 
     3.  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.
     4.  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 (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.  (Emphasis supplied).
     5.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part: “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
 
     6.  It is found that the complainant made a March 30, 2015 request for “a copy of all my personal answer key cards” from the 2013 New Haven Fire Department entry level firefighter’s exam.
 
     7.  It is found that the original answer key cards (also known as “bubble sheets”) are held by the testing company that administered the examination.
 
     8.  It is found that the respondents obtained a copy of the complainant’s answer key card from the testing company and provided it to the complainant.
 
     9.  The respondents maintained that the original answer key card is not a public record, because they themselves do not maintain it.
 
     10.  It is concluded that the answer key card falls within the category of  “[t]est questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer a licensing examination, examination for employment or academic examinations,” within the meaning of §1-210(b)(6), G.S.
 
     11.  It is concluded that, even if the respondents maintained the original answer key card, or had the contractual right to obtain the original from the testing company, it is permissibly exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(6), G.S., and that the respondents did more than they were obligated to by the FOI Act by obtaining a copy in order to satisfy the complainant.
 
     12.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents 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 February 24, 2016.
 
 
 
__________________________
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:
 
Torrey Townsend
39 Orchard Place
New Haven, CT  06511
 
Manager of Human Resources and Benefits,
Department of Human Resources, City of
New Haven; Department of Human
Resources, City of New Haven; and
City of New Haven
c/o Kathleen Foster, Esq.
Office of the Corporation Counsel
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT  06510
 
 
 
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
 
 
 
 
FIC/2015-255FD/cac/2/24/2016




Content Last Modified on 2/29/2016 4:28:31 PM