Freedom of Information Commission
At a Glance
MITCHELL W. PEARLMAN, Executive Director
Colleen M. Murphy, Managing Director
Eric V. Turner, Director of Public Education
Clifton A. Leonhardt, Chief Counsel
Mary E. Schwind, Director of Adjudication
Gloria J. Davis-Delancy, Chief Administrative Officer
Thomas A. Hennick, Public Education Officer
Statutory authority CGS Section 1-200 et. Seq.
Central office 18-20 Trinity Street,
Hartford, CT 06106
Number of employees 16
Recurring operating expenses $1,333,829
Organizational structure Commission
To ensure citizen access to the records and meetings of all public agencies in Connecticut.
To ensure that all public agencies comply with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Commission holds hearings on citizen complaints alleging denial of access under the FOIA. It also conducts educational programs and prepares literature for public officials and the general public.
The Commission attempted to meet it statutory obligations in the face of serious financial constraints. The Commission strove to reduce its backlog of contested cases by placing new emphasis on its ombudsman program. That program was instrumental in the withdrawal of almost a third of the complaints before they reached the formal hearing process this year. The Commission received 592 complaints in the calendar year 2002. In addition, the Commission employed a temporary triage system to manage the backlog. In the first half of the fiscal year, the Commission moved forward with the major public education initiative it began in 2000-2001. The goal of the program is to establish FOI advisory boards and liaisons in all municipalities, school districts and state agencies and build a bridge between these advisory boards and liaisons and the Commission. The Commission conducted two, formal training sessions in connection with the program. In addition, the Commission continued to conduct numerous workshops for public officials and members of the public about the requirements of the FOIA.
The Commission is committed to regular reviews of its current operating procedures aimed at reducing waste and increasing efficiency.
· settle contested cases informally through ombudsman program;
· defend the Commission through staff counsel in court appeals;
· render declaratory rulings of general applicability under the FOIA;
· conduct workshops, provide speakers, public Commission reports and other literature;
· develop public policy positions with regard to issues of information accessibility, private and public accountability, especially as they relate to such matters as emerging information technologies;
· refine and expand training program for advisory board members and liaisons.
The Commission has developed its own affirmative action plan which complies with the Connecticut General Statutes Section 46a-70 through 46a-78.