CCFOI Meeting Minutes – May 15, 2019

The meeting was at Wood-n-Tap, 99 Sisson Ave., Hartford. Present: Mike Savino, Zach Janowski, Matt Kauffman, Michele Jacklin, Gary Gold, Colleen Murphy, Paula Pearlman, Chris Powell, Mitch Pearlman, George Lombardi, Mary Connolly, Jeff Daniels. The minutes of the April 17, 2019 meeting were accepted. Treasurer’s report: Lombardi reported a balance of $3,931.10. Annual meeting: Our annual awards luncheon will be June 19, starting at 11:30 a.m., at Pond House Café, 1555 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, part of Elizabeth Park. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at the door. Annual awards: A special lifetime achievement award will honor William J. Pape II, longtime editor and publisher of the Republican-American in Waterbury. He died in April, after a long life devoted to journalism and government transparency. He was a strong supporter of CCFOI. It was decided not to give a Bice Clemow award this year. This award honors a nonjournalist who contributed to the cause of open government. CCFOI hopes there will be nominations for the award next year. Clemow was the editor of the West Hartford News and helped draft the law that created Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission. The Stephen A. Collins award, which honors the late editorial director of The News-Times in Danbury, is given each year to a journalist. This year, the recipient will be the Hartford Courant and reporters Dave Altimari and Josh Kovner for their work telling the story behind the story of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. A Champion of Open Government award will go to Tara O’Neill, a reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media Group. In May, O’Neill was working as a reporter in Bridgeport, observing a demonstration on the second anniversary of an officer-involved fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Bridgeport youth, when she was taken into custody, handcuffed and transported to police headquarters. She was detained there for about 30 minutes and then released without being charged. There was no reason to take her into custody, and police officials had difficulty explaining why it happened. O’Neill had no difficulty explaining what happened. She conducted herself professionally and helped tell the story of what reporters do as they try to cover the news in difficult circumstances. Legislative report: There was discussion of bills still pending in the last days of the 2019 session.