The Connecticut Council of Freedom of Information will recognize public officials, journalists, and open-government champions who helped preserve and enhance the state’s Freedom of Information Act at its annual awards reception Wednesday, Sept. 20.
The event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Hartford Club, 46 Prospect St., Hartford.
This year’s prizes and honorees include:
— The Stephen A. Collins Memorial Award, given each year to journalists for their contributions to the cause of open and accountable government and a free and vigorous press in Connecticut, will go to Jacqueline Rabe-Thomas, Joshua Eaton, and Brian Lockhart of Hearst Connecticut Media Group. In a series of stories, Rabe-Thomas, Eaton and Lockhart exposed Bridgeport’s systemic failure to comply with numerous citizens’ FOIA requests in a timely fashion.
— The Bice Clemow Award, given annually to public officials who display outstanding leadership in support of open and accountable government, will go to state Sens. James Maroney of Milford and Cathy Osten of Sprague. Maroney ensured that transparency was a pillar of a sweeping new law addressing state government’s use of artificial intelligence. Osten helped secure funding to provide the Freedom of Information Commission with money for an additional lawyer and staff member, reversing years of budget cuts.
— The Champion of Open Government Award will go to Kelsey Eberly, a past Abrams fellow from Yale’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic. Eberly continued the clinic’s work regarding the lack of transparency when state government uses artificial intelligence, helping CCFOI present draft language and push for its inclusion in the artificial intelligence law that was championed by Maroney.
— Also receiving the Champion of Open Government Award will be Paula Pearlman, managing director and associate general counsel of the Freedom of Information Commission, for her vigilance and expertise in monitoring and helping to craft FOI legislation.
The event will include hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The first drink — beer, wine, and soda — will be complimentary.
Tickets are $25 and payable at the door.
Parking will be available for $2 at the Hartford Club garage.