FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees,
Connecticut Council 4, AFL-CIO,
against Docket #FIC 94-121
Connecticut Conference of Municipalities,
Respondent December 29, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 20, 1994, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. By letter to the respondent dated February 16, 1994 the complainant requested documents and information from the respondent relating to its meetings and membership.
2. By reply letter dated March 16, 1994, the respondent claimed that it is not subject to the disclosure provisions of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act because it is not a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
3. By letter filed on April 15, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent is the functional equivalent of a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
4. By pleadings filed with the Commission on October 19 and 20, 1994, the respondent moved that the complaint be dismissed, and objected to what it characterized as the "complainant's request for production of [its] work product".
5. The four criteria to determine whether the respondent constitutes a "public agency" are:
(a) whether the entity performs a governmental function;
(b) the level of government funding;
(c) the extent of government involvement or regulation; and
(d) whether the entity was created by the government.
Docket #FIC 94-121 Page 2
6. It is found that the respondent is a voluntary unicorporated association of Connecticut towns and cities, offering services to: municipalities, other service and educational entities, and business entities.
7. It is found that although the respondent provides services to local government officials and employees, for a fee, in the form of educational and informational programs and materials designed to educate and enhance the professional capabilities of public officials and employees, its programs and activities do not replace tasks or functions traditionally performed by government.
8. It is concluded that under the facts of this case the respondent does not presently carry out a government function.
9. It is found that the respondent is funded by the collection of conference, membership, program, publication, sponsor, subscription, vendor and other service fees.
10. It is also found that the respondent derives some of its income from the management fees that it obtains from its management contract with the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency ("CIRMA").
11. The complainant claims that CIRMA and the respondent are alter egos of the same entity.
12. It is found that CIRMA, which provides insurance to municipalities, is subject to the provisions of 7-479a(c) and Chapter 113a, G.S.
13. It is found that CIRMA shares office space with the respondent at its New Haven location; however, CIRMA is a separate entity from the respondent, with its own bylaws and board of directors.
14. It is therefore concluded that while public funds are undoubtedly allocated from the budgets of the respondent's members to pay fees to the respondent, the respondent does not receive a direct allotment of public funds at this time.
15. It is found that the respondent is self-directed and its employees are not government employees.
16. It is found that the respondent operates from privately owned and rented facilities in New Haven and Hartford, and the rental expenses are not paid or subsidized by any government agency, but rather paid as part of the respondent's operating budget.
Docket #FIC 94-121 Page 3
17. It is found that the respondent was founded in 1966 by mayors and first selectmen of various towns. And while initially membership was personal to the mayors or selectmen, the organization has evolved into a trade association with Connecticut cities and towns as its primary members.
18. It is further found that the complainant has failed to allege or prove facts establishing that the respondent is regulated or created by government, or involved with government beyond the fact that the respondent's members are primarily municipalities.
19. It is therefore concluded that the respondent is not a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 28, 1994.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-121 Page 4
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, CONNECTICTU COUNCIL 4, AFL-CIO
c/o J. William Gagne, Esq.
Harry B. Elliot, Jr., Esq.
Gagne & Associates
207 Washington Street
Hartford, CT 06106
CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE OF MUNICIPALITIES
c/o George C. Hastings, Esq.
Robinson & Cole
One Commercial Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103-3597
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission