State comptroller to receive freedom of information award

The Council on Freedom of Information announced Monday that State Comptroller Kevin Lembo will receive the organization's Bice Clemow Freedom of Information Award.

"Kevin Lembo has a vision of government that proactively promotes easy access to official actions and records for every citizen," said James H. Smith, CCFOI president. "The legislature should pass his proposals."

In a press release, Smith said, "In recent years the state government has made substantial investments of taxpayer money in private, for-profit enterprises in the form of grants, loans and foregone tax revenue. The purpose of these incentives is to improve the economy and quality of life for Connecticut citizens. Citizens have every right to expect a clear and strict accounting of whether their investments result in the community benefits intended. They deserve the opportunity to decide whether the deals entered into on their behalf are prudent, negotiated at arms length and carefully monitored.

"Mr. Lembo's proposed legislation would make critical elements of this accountability easily accessible to the public. Citizens would know whose businesses they are betting on with these incentives, and they could compare anticipated benefits to actual results in jobs and economic vitality created.

The award is named after the former editor of The West Hartford News, Bice Clemow, who worked to pass the state Freedom of Information Act in 1975. Lembo will receive the award June 19.

CCFOI is a nonprofit advocacy group that has fought for government transparency for more than 50 years.

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