As Connecticut works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff of the Freedom of Information Commission has begun returning to the Commission’s office on a limited basis.  However, the building continues to be closed to the general public.  During this time of reopening, a limited number of staff will work at the Commission’s office while others will continue to telework.   The Commission resumed its schedule of Regular Meetings on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.  Commission meetings will be conducted via telephone and teleconference until such time as restrictions allow a public meeting to be held at the Commission's offices.  Instructions for real-time public access to the Commission’s meetings will be published and included with each meeting agenda.   Additionally, a recording of each meeting will be posted on the Commission’s website.  Contested case hearings are scheduled to resume via telephone the week of August 17, 2020. The Commission continues to accept appeals and engage in its ombudsman program.

Meet Chairman Owen P. Eagan
Owen Eagan has always believed in public service. As a resident of West Hartford he has served on various boards and commissions: the town council, the planning and zoning commission, the public safety committee and the ethics commission to name a few. But when he was asked to fill a two-year vacancy on the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, Eagan wasn’t sure he was the right fit. “I just wasn’t sure, but I believe very strongly in the importance of public service, so I felt that because I was asked, it was something I wanted to do. I figured it was only for two years,” Eagan said. That was in May of 2009. Now, more than four years later, Eagan is not only still a commission member, he was appointed commission chairman by Governor Dannel Malloy.  “It didn’t take me very long to realize not only how important the commission’s work is, but also how much I really enjoyed it,” Eagan said. “What we do really runs the gamut, from a case involving an individual’s right to a case about water rights and the MDC to the First Five Initiative. One of my colleagues said that ‘all roads lead to FOI,’ and I believe she is right.”

Eagan is a practicing attorney, a partner in the West Hartford firm of Eagan, Donahue, Van Dyke and Falsey LLP of West Hartford. He is a 1982 graduate of Wesleyan University and a 1985 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.  “I have truly enjoyed my time on the commission. My fellow commissioners and the commission staff have been great to work with and very helpful,” he said.

And his feelings about his new leadership role on the commission?  “Let me say that I truly feel honored to be asked to serve as chairman. I have no reservations about taking the position. I feel that I have been given great examples to follow in the two chairmen before me, Andy O’Keefe and Norma Riess.”

Eagan says that his role as chairman will be to ensure that all parties receive fair and equitable treatment.  “It’s important to recognize the importance of open and accessible government,” Eagan said. “But it also is important to have a certain amount of understanding of what it takes for a public agency to comply with some requests. Yes, the slant is to open government, but we have to be fair and act within the confines of the law.”