The Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission has seen a steady increase in the number of grievances filed. It expects to receive 864 by the end of the year. The commission attributes the increase to citizens being better educated about FOI laws and an increase in government secrecy. Private residents account for 70 percent of requests filed.
In December, when Fairfield First Selectman Ken Flatto removed the town Conservation Department from overseeing the largest development in town history, he did it behind closed doors.
In response, Kathryn Braun, a Fairfield attorney, helped draft a Freedom of Information complaint against the selectman for the Fairfield Friends of Open Space, a preservation group. She alleged the private meeting was illegal because it concerned matters meant for the public.
"We considered it a secret meeting in which government business was conducted," Braun said. "If you're going to change the structure of government, do it publicly."
Her complaint now is one of a record number before the state Freedom of Information Commission, which is hard-pressed to explain a cause for this year's increase.