Freedom of Information Act in Connecticut
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in Connecticut refers to the state-level legislation that grants individuals the right to access public records and government documents. The Town of Marlborough supports the Freedom of Information Act in promoting transparency, openness, and accountability in government by providing citizens with the ability to request and obtain public records from the Town. Under FOIA, any person or organization can make a request to inspect, review or receive public records including documents, emails, meeting minutes, reports and other materials maintained by the Town, its Boards and Commissions, and other public agencies.
In Marlborough, all requests should include a description of the records sought and the contact information of the requestor. Requests should be directed to the Office of the Town Clerk, where each request is date-stamped and processed for response.
Key provisions of the FOIA include:
- Meeting Access: he right to attend Public Meetings and obtain the agenda, minutes, and a record of the votes taken during public meetings.
- Access to Public Records: The Act guarantees the public’s right to access records, except in cases where specific exemptions apply.
- Requesting Records: Individuals can submit a written request to the custodial on the records they seek. The request should include a specific description of the records being sought and the requestor’s contact information.
- Response Time: Public agencies, including the Town of Marlborough, are generally required to acknowledge receipt of the request within 2 business days, and to respond to the request as promptly as possible. However there are provisions for extensions in certain circumstances, such as the complexity of the request and availability of staff.
- Fees: Agencies may charge reasonable fees for providing copies of requested records. The fees are typically based on the cost of reproduction and administrative expenses.
- Exemptions: Certain records may be exempt from disclosure, such as those related to ongoing law enforcement investigations; records related to juveniles; some witness and victim identification information; trade secrets; information related to negotiations including real estate and collective bargaining; election, primary, referenda, and petition pages, until certified; personnel files, and certain medical records; work of personnel search committees; among others. Limitations and exceptions to FOIA may include, but are not limited to:
- Information related to security
- Personal privacy; FOIA often protect individuals’ personal information such as social security numbers, medical information, and other sensitive data. Disclosure of such without consent or valid reason may be restricted.
- Information related to ongoing investigations, confidential informants, or sensitive law enforcement techniques may be excluded from FOIA requests to avoid compromising criminal inquiries.
- Communications subject to attorney-client privilege or legal advice may be exempted to protect the confidentiality of legal proceedings.
- Draft documents, internal discussions, or preliminary policy decisions may be withheld to safeguard the integrity of the deliberative process and decision making process within government agencies.
It’s important to note that these exemptions and limitations can vary depending on the specific jurisdiction and respective FOIA legislation. If a request for records is denied, individuals have the right to appeal the decision to the Freedom of Information Commission, an independent agency that adjudicates disputes related to public access of records.
Town of Marlborough Freedom of Information Act Request
CT FOIA Information and State of Connecticut Records information