How will the external members be protected against litigation?
As volunteers, they will be defended and indemnified by the State. There’s an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General which provides that “volunteers will be immune from personal liability for damage or injury caused in the discharge of their duties or within the scope of their employment not wanton, reckless, or malicious, and our office will represent them as a general rule if they are sued under these circumstances.” See OAG Opinion 86 Op. Atty. Gen. Conn. 49; 1986 Conn. AG LEXIS 17.
Are the entire contents of their personal computers (which they are using for this work) subject to FOI?
No, only records that relate to the conduct of the public’s business (i.e. Task Force related work).
Are the task force meetings “open meetings” given the involvement of external representatives?
Yes, even without the participation of outside members, the Task Force meetings are public due to its power to advise the President. Pursuant to Perez v Freedom of Information Comm’n, a 2009 Superior Court Decision upholding a 2008 FOIC ruling, a Task Force appointed by Hartford’s former Mayor Perez to advise him concerning financial support for a new arena in the XL Center was a public agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The Court also upheld the FOIC’s conclusion that the meetings of the Task Force were public meetings since they were convened to discuss matters under its advisory power. Since the Task Force’s meetings are public, certain notice requirements must be met. I would expect that the Task Force meetings would be “special meetings” as opposed to “regular meetings” since they are not scheduled way ahead of time. Probably the most current resource for these requirements is at this link: http://www.ct.gov/foi/cwp/view.asp?a=4161&q=488526. I have also attached a guide put together by CSCU Assistant Counsel/Director of Freedom of Information Greg Daniels, the CSCU system’s FOIA expert.
What are the implications of “non-university” representatives leading this conversation and making recommendations concerning policies, procedures, communications, staffing etc.?
I don’t foresee an issue with the leadership of the Task Force being comprised of non CCSU employees since the Task Force’s role is advisory only.