The Freedom of Information Commission has ruled that the evidentiary portion of the 2010 Torrington teachers’ interest arbitration hearing should have been open to the public. The State Department of Education and the arbitration panel had argued that the arbitration hearing constituted “strategy or negotiations with respect to collective bargaining,” and was therefore not a “meeting” under the FOI statute. The Commission rejected that claim, finding that the evidentiary portion of the hearing (as distinguished from any discussions regarding settlement) did not constitute strategy or negotiations. The Commission therefore found that the evidentiary portion of the hearing constituted a “meeting” under the FOI statute, which should have been held in public session. It is not yet clear whether the decision will be appealed to court. For the full text of the Commission’s ruling, click here.