CCFOI Meeting Minutes – Sept. 17, 2014

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, Sept. 17, 2014

The meeting was at Wood-N-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford.

The minutes of the June 18, 2014, annual meeting were accepted.

Present: Jim Smith, Mary Connolly, Morgan McGinley, Claude Albert, Dick Ahles, Tom Scheffey, Chris VanDeHoef, Mitch Pearlman, Mary Schwind, Colleen Murphy, George Lombardi, Sherman London, Chris Powell, Zach Janowski, Jeff Daniels, Wade Gibson, Steve Kalb.

Treasurer’s report: Lombardi said there is a balance of $14,514.21. The annual meeting cost CCFOI $1,200, including the cost of award plaques. Requests for dues payment will be sent with a letter detailing the work of CCFOI in the past year.

FOI Pledge for candidates: The coalition of nonprofit groups that CCFOI has worked with from time to time has proposed asking candidates to sign a pledge of support for the Freedom of Information Act. Jeff Daniels of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut and Wade Gibson of Connecticut Voices for Children explained the goal of the pledge – to get candidates on the record. They are asking CCFOI to take the lead in seeking candidate support.

There was discussion of how the pledge would work and how CCFOI would handle a situation if a candidate who signed the pledge is elected and then votes for FOI changes that CCFOI opposes. No decision was made on that matter, but there was near-unanimous agreement CCFOI should move forward with the pledge. Janowski abstained because he needed time to consult with SPJ. Ahles voted no, questioning the value of such pledges.

Legislative chair position: Albert is the new editor of the Connecticut Mirror. He has resigned as legislative chair of CCFOI. Smith praised his work as chair. Until a new chair is found, Smith will serve as president and legislative chair. He will call on other members for help as issues arise.

Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be Oct. 15 at noon at Wood-N-Tap

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information

Serving the public since 1955

Oct. 1, 2014

Dear Candidate for the General Assembly and Constitutional office:

Freedom of information and the public’s right to know about Connecticut state and municipal governments have been under increasing attack in recent years. So the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, urges you to take the Public Official’s Pledge for Open and Accountable Government, which is appended.

CCFOI, a non-profit entering our 60th year, will let your constituents know of your support for their right to know.

Please take this pledge by signing it and mailing it or e-mailing it back to me. Please feel free to make a comment about your pledge.


JAMES H. SMITH, President
Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
59 Sioux Drive
Oxford, CT 06478

Among the Connecticut organizations supporting this pledge are:


CCFOI officers: President, James H. Smith; Vice President, Richard Ahles; Secretary Mary Connolly; Treasurer, George Lombardi


Public Official’s Pledge for Open and Accountable Government

In 1975 the General Assembly unanimously sent to Gov. Ella T. Grasso the landmark legislation she had asked for, what became known as Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act, that she signed it into law. The FOI Act promises that government at every level in Connecticut — state and municipal, from police departments to schools — will strive to conduct business in the open. The act guarantees the right of everyone to have access to government agency meetings and records.

As government in Connecticut has grown in the decades since its passage, the FOI Act is even more important today. It ensures accountability in government and thereby promotes confidence in government.

As Governor Grasso and the 1975 General Assembly did, I believe that a successful democracy requires open, transparent, and accountable government. Accordingly, I pledge to my constituents and to all the people of Connecticut that:

— I will support Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act, including the independence of the state’s unique Freedom of Information Commission, and oppose weakening it.

— I will do whatever I can to require that any proposals to weaken or impair the FOI Act be presented for debate at public hearings before any action is taken on them.


Please return to: or James H. Smith, 59 Sioux Drive, Oxford, CT 06478