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.


 

 

Stephen Fuzesi Jr. brings a wealth of experiences to his new role as a member of the Freedom of Information Commission. Appointed by Governor Lamont in 2019, Fuzesi has held leadership roles and been legal counsel in the communications and news media and finance sectors for many years. All those roles have helped him become an advocate for transparent and accessible government.

      Fuzesi came to the U.S. with his family in 1956 as a young refugee after the Hungarian revolution. He grew up in Hamden and has lived and worked in New Haven, Hartford and Fairfield counties. He credits his parents for inspiring him to advocate for the freedoms guaranteed by a Democratic society.

      “My parents’ sacrifice made it possible for me to live in our democratic society where its destiny and promise resides in We the People. A foundational pillar of that promise is open government, free speech and press and an engaged, informed citizenry,” he told a legislative committee during his confirmation hearings.

      The passion for open, transparent and participatory government and free speech are evident in all aspects of Fuzesi’s career. After receiving an A.B. cum laude from Princeton University and its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, he began his professional career as a reporter for the New Haven Register. He then went to law school and received a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he was an editor of the Law Review.

       Throughout the various phases of his career, Fuzesi says he has developed “a deep personal commitment to public education, immigrant and refugee rights, and the advancement of civil society and free expression.”

His recent focus has been supporting immigrant and refugee rights and teaching.

       Since 2017 he has been teaching a course in Stamford for immigrants preparing for the US citizenship test as a volunteer at CIRI- Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (Bridgeport, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury) and currently also serves as Vice Chairman of the CIRI Board of Directors.

       From 1994 to September 30, 2010, Fuzesi was vice president/chief counsel of Newsweek, Inc.–then the global publisher of Newsweek, Newsweek International and newsweek/MSNBC.com. He was instrumental in the launch of Newsweek International editions (print

and electronic) in Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

       A former elected member of the Greenwich Board of Education, he also has been a member of the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee and is a long term member of the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.

Fuzesi also was a visiting fellow and lecturer in international relations and public policy at Wesleyan University/Allbritton Center (2013) in Middletown and at Brown University/Watson Institute (2012) teaching a seminar course entitled “All the News Fit to Post”.

       “The mandate of the FOIC is to robustly advance and assure the guarantees set forth in our CT law for unencumbered access to public records and public access to open meetings,” he told the legislative committee at his confirmation hearing. “I am honored to have been nominated by Governor Lamont to serve as a Commissioner. I view service on the Commission as a capstone public service challenge to draw upon my personal and professional life experiences.”

        Fuzesi currently lives in Greenwich with his wife Nancy, a recently retired school social worker.