Freedom of Information Commission
At a Glance
COLLEEN M. MURPHY, Executive Director
Eric V. Turner, Managing Director
Mary E. Schwind, Director, Legal Department
Gloria J. Davis-Delancy, Chief Administrative Officer
Thomas A. Hennick, Public Education Officer
Established – 1975
Statutory authority – CGS Section 1-200 et. Seq.
Central office – 18-20 Trinity Street,
Number of employees – 23
Recurring operating expenses – $ 2,257,397
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 and renders decisions 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 continued its efforts to efficiently tackle its heavy volume of contested cases, placing emphasis on its ombudsman program as it had done the previous year. Nonetheless, the continuing upward spiral of formal complaints makes accomplishing such efficiencies a formidable task. In calendar year 2008, the Commission reached an all-time high with 807 formal citizen complaints. In calendar year 2009, the number of formal complaints reached 792, slightly less than the previous year, but left the commission with an average of almost 800 formal complaints a year. In 2009, staff resolved 543 or 68.5% of the 792 cases, without a hearing. The remaining 249, or 31%, either went to a hearing or are scheduled for a hearing.
While the number of complaints in 2008 and 2009 averaged close to 800, another upward trend appears to be underway. By September 1 of 2010, the Commission had received 547 new complaints, putting it on a pace to receive 822 complaints for the year, representing an increase of 30 or 5 percent from 2009. This would represent the highest total for one year, surpassing the all-time record of 807 in 2008. Prior to 2006, the highest number of complaints ever received by the Commission was 676 in 2000.
In other matters of interest, the Commission:
The Commission is committed to regular reviews of its current operating procedures aimed at reducing waste and increasing efficiency.
· hear and resolve cases in a timely fashion;
· settle contested cases informally through ombudsman program;
· defend the Commission through staff counsel in court appeals;
· conduct workshops, provide speakers, publish Commission reports and other literature;
· develop public policy positions with regard to issues of information accessibility, especially as they relate to such matters as emerging information technologies;
· render declaratory rulings of general applicability under the FOIA;
· expand and broaden community outreach program and
· refine and expand training program for advisory board members and liaisons.
The Commission is committed to equal employment opportunities for all.