Any time lawyers get involved in something everything gets involved.
For years–rather than the Communications Department, for example–the City Attorney’s Office has been trusted with processing freedom of information requests from an assortment of outlets: the public, news media, agenda seekers, political operatives.
Lawyers are generally glass-half-empty animals. It’s always what can go wrong versus what can go right if the information is released.
In their zeal to protect they sometimes strip down the veracity of their own client.
The Ganim administration got caught with its pants down when Hearst Connecticut Media unleashed this enterprise story that unpacked a backlog of requests prey to legal machinations.
Mayor Joe Ganim promised a cure, allowing department heads, rather than lawyers, to handle requests. It has gotten better but the residual messiness of transition remains.
The latest Hearst Connecticut story includes the debate over legal redaction in a criminal matter that involves witnesses.
The latest from Jacqueline Rabe Thomas:
Despite promises to improve transparency and compliance with Connecticut’s public records law, the City of Bridgeport once again attempted to flout the rules this month, sparking questions about if the city is moving too slowly to reform.
Frustration boiled over at a recent public meeting when a Bridgeport attorney told the state’s Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC), which enforces the public records law, that the city was planning to openly defy an order the commission was considering that day.
That last-minute declaration left commission members in a no-win scenario: Order Bridgeport to release to a man in prison for murder documents that include information about witnesses who helped put him behind bars, or let Bridgeport get away with breaking open records laws again.
Full story here.