Final Decision FIC2015-246
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2015-246|
Manager of Human Resources and Benefits,
Department of Human Resources, City of
New Haven; and Department of Human
Resources, City of New Haven
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 2015-255, 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 March 30, 2015, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with her requests 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 19, 2015 request for the “passing percentage needed to pass the reading comprehension separated portion of the basic educational part of the [2013 New Haven Fire Department entry level firefighter’s exam].” [Emphasis in original.]
7. It is found that there was a cut-off score for the reading comprehension portion of the test that the complainant took, and that the complainant did not meet it. However, it is also found that the respondents did not establish, nor is there any public record within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S., reflecting, the “passing percentage” needed to pass that portion of the exam. In essence, the complainant’s inquiry reflected her belief that since she had answered 70% of the reading comprehension questions correctly, and 70% was the passing percentage for the entire examination, she should have received a passing score on the reading comprehension portion of the test.
8. It is found that the complainant’s March 19, 2015 request for the “passing percentage” was not a request for a record that exists, but either a request to convert her raw score into a percentage, or a challenge to the accuracy of the respondents’ scoring of the examination.
9. It is found that the respondents attempted to answer the complainant’s March 19, 2015 question.
10. It is concluded that, although the respondents’ answer was unsatisfactory to the complainant, it was not a violation of the FOI Act.
11. It is found that the complainant also made a March 15, 2015 request to the respondents for “the Personal Director Summary for Firefighter and Firefighter Paramedic breakdown for the physical agility portion of the test which should be found in the Civil Service agenda and minutes.”
12. The complainant believes that the document referenced in paragraph 11, above, must exist because a similar document exists for a police department examination.
13. However, it is found that the document referenced in paragraph 11, above, does not exist.
14. It is 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:
39 Orchard Place
New Haven, CT 06511
Manager of Human Resources and Benefits, Department of
Human Resources, City of New Haven; and Department of
Human Resources, 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