Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
May 1, 2008
Department of Agriculture
On behalf of the Connecticut Marketing Authority ("the Authority"), of which you are a member and chairman, you ask whether an individual who is an officer or employee of a tenant of the Hartford Regional Market may serve as a "public member" of the Authority's board of directors. You question whether appointment of such an individual to the board conflicts with
We conclude that an officer or employee of a tenant of the Hartford Regional Market may not serve as a "public member" of the Authority's board, but may be appointed by the Governor as a tenant member of the board.
Such authority shall consist of eleven members. The authority shall be composed of one public member from each congressional district of the state, two at-large public members, the Commissioner of Agriculture or his designee, and the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development or his designee. The Governor shall appoint three members of the authority and the president pro tempore of the Senate, the Senate minority leader, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member. In addition, the Governor shall appoint two members of the authority who shall be tenants of the
According to the statute, the Authority's board shall consist of seven "public members," two state agency commissioners and two tenants of the Hartford market facility (the Hartford Regional Market) appointed by the Governor.
Section 4-9a(b) defines the term "public member" of boards and commissions as follows: "Public member means an elector of the state who has no substantial financial interest in, is not employed in or by and is not professionally affiliated with, any industry, profession, occupation, trade or institution regulated or licensed by the relevant board or commission…." Thus, according to the definition set forth in Section 4-9a(b), "public members" of a board or commission may not have a financial interest in or be employed by an institution regulated or licensed by the board or commission on which they serve.
Applying the definition of "public member" contained in Section 4-9a(b) to the provisions of Section 22-63 leads to the conclusion that officers or employees of tenants of the Hartford Regional Market cannot serve as "public members" of the Authority's board of directors.
This conclusion is consistent with the legislative history of Public Act 97-155, which added two tenant members to the board appointed by the governor. According to that legislative history, tenants of the
It is the opinion of this office, therefore, that officers or employees of tenants of the Hartford Regional Market may serve on the Authority's board only if appointed by the Governor as "tenant board members." Officers or employees of tenants of the
We trust this answers your questions.
Very truly yours,