Topic: FOIA

So You Want To Hire A New Superintendent: What Does The FOIA Permit (And Require)?

We are approaching a time of year where a board of education may have to deal with its long time and (hopefully) beloved superintendent deciding to retire or otherwise move on to another chapter in his or her life. Any feelings of sadness (or any other emotions) must be replaced by the fact that the…

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Pullman attorney authors book on Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Attorney Mark J. Sommaruga, who is a member of Pullman & Comley’s Labor, Employment Law and Employee Benefits Department and is chair of its School Law section, recently authored Understanding Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (5th Edition 2018).  This 146 page book is written primarily to provide guidance to public agencies and their members (and…

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PERSONNEL MATTERS, THE CONNECTICUT FOIA AND COMMON MISTAKES

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) generally provides access to both meetings and records of public agencies.  The FOIA does provide an exception to the open meetings requirements for certain “personnel matters,” namely, discussions “concerning the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that such individual may require…

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SILENCE MATTERS: SCHOOL SAFETY, SECURITY PLANS AND THE CT FOIA

In the aftermath of another senseless and tragic school shooting, school districts are understandably looking inwards as they contemplate the need to adjust their security measures. I am frequently asked how school districts can consider their options while still complying with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”].  Fortunately, the FOIA contains protections for schools…

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Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may engage in “self-help” and copy a public record through the use of a “hand-held scanner”. Connecticut General Statutes §1-212(g).  A “hand held scanner”…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA (Part Three): Trying To Do The Right Thing Is A Good Thing Under The FOIA

In our latest posting on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], we confirm that the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has a heart, and may sometimes forgive technical non-compliance by public agencies and their employees. Honesty and good faith = highly moral and good FOIA strategy I often preach that honesty, common sense and an…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds And The FOIA (Part Two): Can You See My Notes (And Calendar)?

For those who still cannot get enough after my latest post on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], here are more nuggets from the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. Today, we focus on written notes and calendar entries. When are personal notes FOIA-able? Generally, but not always, one’s own personal notes may be exempt from…

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Drafting Agendas: Three Reasons to be More Specific than “Attorney-Client Privileged Communication – Executive Session Anticipated”

One of the most regularly used reasons to enter executive session is to discuss a matter that would result in the disclosure of communications that are privileged by the attorney-client relationship. The agenda item often appears as this: “Discussion and possible action on attorney-client privileged communication – executive session anticipated.” Unfortunately, this agenda item will…

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Everything That You Ever Wanted to Know About The Attorney-Client Privilege and The FOIA But Were Afraid to Ask: The Latest

As a self-described FOIA nerd, I have written in these pages about issues pertaining to the effect of the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] on the attorney-client privilege (and vice versa).  In a plethora of recent decisions, the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has provided further guidance on these issues. Briefly, the FOIA exempts from its…

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Presidential Politics, E-Mail, And The FOIA: Why It Should Matter To You

The federal Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] has recently made its way into national new stories for all the wrong reasons.  Hillary Clinton has become enmeshed in a controversy involving her use of a “private” e-mail account for conducting official business.  In addition, in a development that can charitably be described as ironic, the White House…

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