Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, April 18, 2018
The meeting was at the law office of Dan Klau, 1 State Street, Hartford.
Present: Dan Klau, Jeff Daniels, Mitch Pearlman, Gary Gold, John Bailey, Zach Janowski, Chris Powell, Steve Nevas, Paul Giguere, Paula Pearlman, Colleen Murphy, George Lombardi, Michele Jacklin, Mary Connolly, Mike Savino, Jim Smith.
The minutes of the Feb. 21, 2018 meeting were accepted. There was no meeting in March.
Treasurer’s report: Lombardi reported a balance of $7,707.71.
New board member: Paul Giguere, former president and CEO of the Connecticut Public Affairs Network, was welcomed as a new board member.
Legislative report: There was discussion of pending legislation related to FOI issues. The effort to limit access to voter information, which CCFOI opposes, has lost some steam and may not be brought up for a vote. There was discussion of law enforcement interest in having the birthdates of law enforcement officers exempted from public disclosure, something CCFOI opposes.
Union contracts and FOI: Prompted by a case at Central Connecticut State University, there was discussion about the problems obtaining access to personnel files of state employees. Those personnel files are considered public records, but a state law allows state employee unions to negotiate provisions that override state laws, including the FOI law. The CCSU case involves a professor placed on leave after accusations of sexual misconduct. The school newspaper was refused access to the professor’s file.
Forum on CT-N: Rep. Bob Godfrey and Sen. Beth Bye approached CCFOI about organizing a public forum on CT-N. The public affairs network as we knew it ceased operations last year after the legislature cut funding and ended editorial independence. Legislative leaders want to transform CT-N into a promotional arm for the legislature. Some employees were retained to provide limited coverage of legislative sessions and committee meetings but CT-N advocates hope funding and independence can be restored.
The forum will be April 23 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
Annual Meeting: Lombardi will contact the Pond House Café in West Hartford to arrange our annual awards luncheon. If the date is available, the meeting will be June 20.
Annual awards: Send your nominations to Mitch Pearlman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each year at the annual meeting, we honor a journalist with the Stephen A. Collins award, a non-journalist with the Bice Clemow award and journalists and nonjournalists with Champion of Open Government awards.
CCFOI leadership transition: This was Dan Klau’s last meeting as president of CCFOI. He has been nominated by Governor Malloy to become a Superior Court judge. There was a round of applause to thank him for his service. Vice President Zach Janowski will fill in for Klau in May and June, when annual elections will take place.
New meeting place: CCFOI is looking for a new place to meet. Wood-n-Tap at 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford, our usual meeting place, is now requiring an expensive rental fee for a meeting room, in addition to the expense of lunches, so it is no longer an acceptable meeting place.
Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be May 16 at noon at a place to be determined.