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 being conducted remotely by telephone and videoconference. The Commission continues to accept appeals and engage in its ombudsman program.

Section 1-21j-40 (a)-(c)  Proposed final decision in a contested case

(a) The commission shall proceed in the following manner in contested cases where a majority of the commission has not heard the case or read the record. A final decision shall not be adopted by the commission until a proposed final decision is served upon all of the parties, and until an opportunity has been afforded to each party adversely affected by the proposed final decision to file exceptions, to present briefs, and to make oral argument before the commission at a commission meeting. Compliance with this requirement concerning the proposed final decision may be waived by a written stipulation of the parties.

(b) In no event shall new evidence, not admitted into evidence under sections 1-21j-35 to 1-21j-38, inclusive, of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, be submitted to, or considered by, the commission at the commission meeting at which the proposed final decision is considered. In addition, no party or intervenor shall present any argument at the commission meeting at which the proposed final decision is considered unless such argument has been raised (1) at the hearing in the contested case; or (2) in a bill of exceptions or brief filed with the commission on or before the Wednesday of the week immediately prior to the meeting at which the proposed final decision is scheduled to be discussed and/or acted upon by the commission; or (3) in the proposed final decision itself. The commission may limit the period of time for argument by serving notice of such limitation upon all of the parties simultaneously with the proposed final decision. For good cause shown, the commission may enlarge the period of time for argument, if the request is made in writing, stating the reasons therefor, and filed with the commission on or before the Wednesday of the week immediately prior to the proceeding at which such proposed final decision is scheduled to be discussed or acted upon by the commission. Upon the request of a party or intervenor, the commission shall tape record that portion of its meeting, open to the public, concerning the proposed final decision concerning such party or intervenor.

(c) In the proposed final decision to be served upon the parties, the commission or presiding officer shall set forth such commission’s or such presiding officer’s summary of each issue of fact and law that such commission or such presiding officer finds necessary to reach the conclusions contained in the proposed final decision.