Board and Commission Transparency

Connecticut is full of boards and commissions, elected and appointed, at the state and municipal levels, which few people know exist, even fewer people understand, and about which there is little timely information online, including descriptions and mission statements, descriptions of board members (and who nominated and approved them), minutes, and agendas of upcoming meetings.

For example, CT New Junkie reports today that the Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board is meeting today at 3:00 pm, and that the meeting is being broadcast on CT-N. The Board’s website has more historical information than those of most boards and commissions, including the language by which it was created, minutes and agendas, and testimony and reports. What it lacks is information about its members (who they are and how they came to be appointed to the Board) and information that would be necessary for any citizen to participate in (or even decide whether to watch) today’s meeting, that is, an agenda for today’s meeting, and the agenda and minutes of the Board’s most recent meeting, in June.

This is an exceptionally important policy area right now. After focusing on the state minimum wage in 2016, the Board is supposed to be considering other ways of helping the unemployed and the underemployed, including job training and workforce development, occupational licensing, reentry workforce programs, barriers to work, benefit cliffs, wage disparities, and State costs to support low-wage earners.

This board, like so many other boards and commissions, should be working hard to ensure full transparency so that citizens can provide their viewpoints and expertise. Those who are affected by this lack of transparency should contact board and commission chairs and administrators, demanding more and more timely transparency.

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