Carlson v. Town Administrator, Town of Vernon
The failure to conduct a review of requested personnel records to determine whether the respondents had a reasonable belief that disclosure of such records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, prior to notifying the employee concerned, violated C.G.S. §1-214. Suzanne Carlson and the Manchester Journal Inquirer appealed to the Freedom of Information Commission alleging that the town of Vernon and the town administrator violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to comply with their request to inspect the application and resume of Andrew Marchese, the town zoning enforcement officer. The respondents denied the request stating that they must first notify Marchese to give him the opportunity to object. Marchese did not object to the disclosure. The respondents provided a copy of the requested records to the complainants with Marchese's Social Security and driver's license number redacted. At the hearing, the respondents conceded that the denial of the request constituted a violation of C.G.S. §1-214 in that they failed to review the requested records to determine whether they had a reasonable belief that the disclosure would constitute an invasion of personal privacy prior to notifying Marchese of the request. The FOIC further found that the respondents' violation of C.G.S. §1-214 unnecessarily delayed the complainant's access to the records. Although the respondents are not necessarily required under the FOIA to respond immediately to the complainants' verbal requests for records upon demand, the three month delay in providing access to the requested records under the facts and circumstances of this case was not prompt. The FOIC concluded that the respondents violated C.G.S. §1-214, §1-210(a) and §1-212(a) and directed them to strictly comply, henceforth, with the violated provisions.