FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

 

In the Matter of a Request
 for Advisory Opinion


 

     Advisory Opinion   #66

Water Supplies Section, State Department of Health Services, Applicant

    

 

 

 

On July 23, 1986, the Commission considered and agreed to respond to the request for an advisory opinion filed by the Water Supplies Section, State Department of Health Services.

 

In its request the applicant states that recently a "Water Utility Coordinating Committee" (hereinafter "WUCC") has been convened for the twelve town Housatonic Public Water Supply Management Area. This action was taken under authority of P.A. 85-535. WUCC membership consists of representatives from area public water utilities and regional planning agencies.

 

The applicant seeks the Commission's opinion as to whether meeting notices must be sent to each municipal clerk in the area served by the Housatonic Public Water Supply Management Area WUCC.

 

In pertinent part, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1‑21(a) provides:

 

Each such public agency of the state shall file ... in the office of the secretary of the state the schedule of the regular meetings of such public agency for the ensuing year.... The chairman or secretary of any such public agency of any political subdivision of the state shall file ... with the clerk of such subdivision the schedule of regular meetings of such public agency for the ensuing year.... The chief executive officer of any multi‑town district or agency shall file ... with the clerk of each municipal member of such district or agency, the schedule of regular meetings of such public agency for the ensuing year.... Notice of each special meeting of every public agency ... shall be given ... by filing a notice ... in the office of the secretary of the state for any such public agency of the state, in the office of the clerk of such subdivision for any public agency of a political subdivision of the state and in the office of the clerk of each municipal member for any multi‑town district or agency.... Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any agency from adopting more stringent notice requirements.... "

 

 

It is the Commission's opinion that the WUCC is a state agency. It is established by state law in furtherance of state policy. It is convened by the Commissioner of the State Department of Health Services and it receives state funds for consultant services. Consequently, for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act, it must file its notices of meetings with the office of the Secretary of the State.

 

The Commission notes, however, that 1‑21(a) does not "prohibit any agency from adopting more stringent notice requirements." Furthermore, subsection 4(b) of P.A. 85-535 states that each WUCC "shall ... adopt ... rules for publication of meeting times and agendas....

 

Part of the public policy embodied in the Freedom of Information Act is to maximize public knowledge of agency meetings and doings. It seems clear from the quoted portion of P.A. 85-535 that it reflects a like policy with respect to WUCCs. To foster this mutual policy, the Commission recommends that the WUCC continue its commendable practice of sending all of its meeting notices to the area municipal clerks as well as to the office of the Secretary of the State. The Commission believes that this procedure is in the public interest and could be incorporated appropriately in its rules for publication under subsection 4(b) of P.A. 85-535.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                            By Order of the Freedom of
                                                                                            Information Commission

                                                                                           

                                                                                ________________________
                                                                                            Curtis Cofield, Chairman of
                                                                                            of the Freedom of Information
                                                                                            Commission

Date ___________________

 

Ordered_________________

Karen J. Haggett,
Clerk of the Commission