State Auditors say CT Student Loan Foundation is ignoring FOIA requirements

The Auditors of State Accounts just reported that the CT Student Loan Foundation is operating with only three ex officio members on the 11-member panel. More importantly, though, it is ignoring Freedom of Information Act Requirements.

“Our review of board meetings for fiscal years ended September 30, 2009, 2010 and 2011
revealed that the Foundation did not post meeting minutes, schedules of regular meetings for the
ensuing year, meeting agendas, and notices of special meetings to the Foundation’s website,” the audit says. The
Foundation did not file with the Secretary of the State the meeting agenda for the majority of its meetings.”

Here’s the Foundation’s mea culpa, which was discounted by auditors, noting that if the agency has a website, it has requirements to post FOIA-required notices and minutes:

“The Foundation believes that it has been complying with the Freedom of
Information Act and that, consistent with prior periods, all notices of all
Foundation Board meetings, both regular and special, were timely posted
with the Connecticut Secretary of the State. The Foundation has not retained
proof (fax confirmations) that it sent all such notices during the first 6 months
of 2009. Section 1-225 of the act requires posting of minutes, agendas, and
other materials on public agency websites “if available.” Since the
Foundation discontinued certain lines of business and minimized its staff in
2010, it has maintained only a basic website focused on investor reporting.
The act was amended in 2010 to clarify that public agencies of political
subdivisions were not required to post minutes of meetings. This amendment
addressed the concerns of small towns which, like the Foundation, lacked
websites or web managers that could perform frequent updates. The
Foundation is not actually a public agency, but was deemed to be the
functional equivalent of a public agency in a 1995 opinion from the Attorney
General, issued when the Foundation had scores of employees and operated
separate lines of business that were issuing student loan guarantees, making
student loans, and servicing student loans. The Foundation’s activities have
been greatly reduced since 1995, and for over two years, it has had no
facilities and no employees and has dedicated its activities primarily to
managing its current portfolio of loans and related debt financing with a
minimal staff, while executing the Foundation’s public purpose. The
Foundation, as operated today, is more analogous to the small towns that
sought and received explicit relief from website posting requirements. As the
Foundation is currently upgrading its website, it will voluntarily comply with
the website posting provisions of the act, commencing later this summer.”