Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
February 16, 1999
From Honorable Raul A. Rodriguez
Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission
18-20 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Mr. Rodriguez:
Section 2-120 of the Connecticut General Statutes establishes a Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission ("Commission") composed of thirteen members. Three of the members are appointed by the governor; two are appointed by the president pro tempore of the senate; one by the majority leader of the senate; two by the minority leader of the senate; two by the speaker of the house; one by the majority leader of the house; and two by the minority leader of the house. The gubernatorial appointees serve for terms of three years from February first of the year of their appointments, and all other appointees serve for terms of two years. You have asked whether commissioners must automatically leave the Commission when their terms expire, even if no one has been appointed to fill their positions, or whether they may continue to serve after their terms have expired until they are either reappointed or replaced as commissioners.
I have examined the statute under which the Commission operates and other relevant statutes and law, and conclude that, in this particular situation, where Commissioners have been neither reappointed nor replaced by their appointing authorities at the conclusion of their terms, they may continue to serve in at least a de facto capacity until they are reappointed or replaced for a new term. State ex rel. Ryan v. Bailey, 133 Conn. 40, 46-48, 48 A. 2d 229 (1946); State ex rel. McCarthy v. Watson, 132 Conn. 518, 527-28, 45 A. 2d 716 (1946). Generally, "de facto officers may act officially in all respects as though they were de jure officers; and in this respect their rights and liabilities are the same as those of de jure officers." 67 C.J.S. Officers, p. 810; see State ex rel. Eberle v. Clark, 87 Conn. 537, 89 A. 172, 175 (1913).
I trust this answers your question.
Very truly yours,
Carolyn K. Querijero
Assistant Attorney General