Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, May 18, 2016
The meeting was at Wood-n-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford.
Present: Jim Smith, John Bailey, Tom Scheffey, Michele Jacklin, Paula Pearlman, Jeff Daniels, Marsha Chambers, Dan Klau, Mike Savino, Mary Connolly, Steve Nevas, George Lombardi, Zach Janowski, Mitch Pearlman, Dick Ahles.
The minutes of the April 20, 2016 meeting were accepted.
Treasurer’s report: Lombardi reported a balance of $12, 493.49. Efforts continue to collect dues from news organizations that have not paid.
Legislative report: Bailey distributed an end-of-session report on the legislature. It is included as an attachment to these minutes. To summarize, the 2016 legislative short session was dominated by budgetary issues.
Legislation was approved to increase the transparency of the UConn Foundation. Unfortunately, the goal of bringing the foundation under the FOI Act was not achieved. But legislation was approved to require an annual report from the foundation and a broad breakdown of spending.
The legislature will meet in special session on the annual bond package. The governor’s proposal for criminal justice reforms for younger offenders may come up for a vote. FOI advocates have questions about public access to records of younger offenders who are not juveniles. A motion was approved to support changes to the bill that would ensure access to records meets constitutional minimums.
One victory was particularly notable. The legislature removed the FOI Commission from the Office of Governmental Accountability.
Annual meeting: CCFOI’s annual meeting and awards luncheon will be June 15 at noon at Pond House Café in Hartford’s Elizabeth Park. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the door. Parking is free.
Annual awards: Decisions were made on our annual awards. The Stephen A. Collins award goes to a journalist. This year’s winner is Michael Savino of the Journal Inquirer. The Bice Clemow award honors a non-journalist. This year’s winner is Kendall F.Wiggin, the state librarian. Champion of Open Government awards go to anyone who has contributed to the cause of open government. The winners this year are Matthew Warshauer, history professor at Central Connecticut State University; John Dankosky of WNPR and new executive editor of New England News Collaborative; and Dick Ahles, retiring vice president of CCFOI and former president of CCFOI.
Officers: Dan Klau volunteered to take on the presidency of CCFOI, much to the relief of Jim Smith. Zach Janowski volunteered to be vice president after Dick Ahles said he would step down. Secretary Mary Connolly and Treasurer George Lombardi agreed to continue in those posts. The election will be at the annual meeting.
Looking ahead: The CCFOI annual meeting will be June 15 at noon at Pond House Café. The address is 1555 Asylum Ave., West Hartford.