The Freedom of Information Commission offers a program, the Freedom of Information Liaison Program, aimed at making more public employees and officials and, indeed, all citizens aware of their rights and their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.
The FOIC, in response to a 2001 legislative and gubernatorial mandate to improve FOI compliance around the state, developed the program consisting of two days of extensive training in the FOI Act. Liaisons are selected by municipalities and state agencies that appoint the individual and authorize his or her attendance at the sessions, which are offered at no cost to the participants. Many municipalities and state agencies also have sent more than one representative.
During the training, liaisons are given extensive lessons in all aspects of the law. As part of the program, they also are confronted with scenarios and questions which allow them to apply their newly-gained knowledge to simulated FOI dilemmas.
Armed with a new level of expertise, liaisons return to their towns and agencies and serve as a valuable resource for their fellow residents and/or co-workers. Liaisons not only are able to offer answers to FOI questions and facilitate FOI workshops, but also are able to provide a quick and direct link to the FOI staff for their constituents. During the two days of training, liaisons interact with members of the FOI staff,
establish strong contacts at the Commission and become a bridge between their communities and the FOIC.
Since the programís inception, FOIC staff has conducted seven two-day workshops and certified more than 200 liaisons. In addition, refresher courses were held for earlier trainees in both 2006 and 2007. The next training sessions will occur sometime in 2010.
For more information, contact Public Education Officer Tom Hennick by writing to us at 18-20 Trinity Street, Hartford, Ct. 06106, by calling at (860) 566-5682 or by e-mailing thomas.hennick @ct.gov.