Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission

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Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission
Leadership: the designated executive director
Founded by: Connecticut Statute 1-21J
Website: http://www.state.ct.us/foi/
Powers:
Investigate and punish alleged violations.


The Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (CT FOIC) was established in 1975 by Connecticut statute to evaluate FOIA compliance, and issue rulings when questions about Connecticut FOIA arise. The CT FOIC has saw more than 800 complaints in 2008, up from only 716 in 2007.[1]

Duties

"The commission shall, subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act promptly review the alleged violation of said Freedom of Information Act and issue an order pertaining to the same. Said commission shall have the power to investigate all alleged violations of said Freedom of Information Act and may for the purpose of investigating any violation hold a hearing, administer oaths, examine witnesses, receive oral and documentary evidence, have the power to subpoena witnesses under procedural rules adopted by the commission to compel attendance and to require the production for examination of any books and papers which the commission deems relevant in any matter under investigation or in question."[2]

Membership

The CT Freedom of Information Commission is made up of five members appointed by the Governor. They are paid $200/day of work associated with the Commission, and are eligible to have other expenses reimbursed.

  • Andrew J. O'Keefe, Chairman (Term ends June 30, 2010)
  • OWEN P. EAGAN (Term ends June 30, 2011)
  • Sherman D. London (Term ends June 30, 2012 - new appointee not yet advertised on website)
  • Norma E. Reiss (Term ends June 30, 2008 - new appointee not yet advertised on website)
  • Dennis E. O'Connor (Term ends June 30, 2011)

There are 20 paid staffers of the Commission in addition to the five appointees.[3]

Meetings

The Commission holds regular meetings and schedules a number of special meetings throughout the year for hearings.[4]

Notable Rulings

Elm City ID Cards

Commissioner London released a tentative ruling from the Commission June of 2008 stating that the names of individuals participating in the Elm City Resident ID card program are not subject to disclosure through FOIA. The ID card program is intended to issue identification to those people unable to get a driver's license or other state ID, such as illegal aliens. The tentative report suggests that the potential for violence against ID card holders is greater than the public's need to have access to card holders identities.[5]

A final ruling on the case was made July 9th - the FOIC voted to keep the names on the ID cards secret, citing threats of violence against New Haven officials and illegal aliens as reason enough to keep the information out of the public eye.[6]

The Community Watchdog Project is the group that filed requests for the records of ID card holders. They vowed to take the case to Superior Court,[7] and in the first week of September they filed an appeal against the CT FOIC.[8] The appeal was filed after the deadline though, and the FOIC has filed a motion for dismissal of the appeal.[9]

Fining City Administrators

The CT Freedom of Information Commission fined Hartford city attorney Carl Nasto $400 for withholding documents from the public. The city argued the case for over a year, insisting that Nasto was correct to withhold the documents, but in July 2008 a judge upheld the original ruling.[10]

The city appealed this decision.[11]

The Commission also issued a proposed decision to fine the Mayor of Hartford, Eddie Perez, $500 for breaking the state's open meeting laws. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal September 24, 2008.[12] On September 25, the Hartford Courant reported that the commission unanimously decided to fine Mayor Perez for convening closed door meetings.[13]

Hartford appealed this decision.[14]

Contact

Address
18-20 Trinity Street, 1st Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 566-5682
Fax: (860) 566-6474
Website: http://www.state.ct.us/foi/
E-mail: foi (at) ct (dot) gov

See also

External links

References