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West Hartford Residents Elected to Board, Officer Positions at Connecticut Foundation for Open Government

New CFOG Board members include (from left): Arielle Levin Becker, Robert Frahm, Mike Savino, Marie Shanahan. Submitted photo

The Connecticut Foundation for Open Government has added several new board members and elected a new slate of officers, including several West Hartford residents.


The Connecticut Foundation for Open Government (CFOG) has added four new members to its Board of Directors and elected a new slate of officers for the statewide organization.

CFOG is a broad-based, nonpartisan organization intent on preserving and protecting the people’s right to know in the conduct of the public’s business. The organization is dedicated to promoting the open and accountable government essential in a democratic society. It seeks to achieve this by educating policymakers and citizens in general on the need for a free flow of information on all public policy matters.

CFOG provides educational programs for state residents of open government issues and offers an instructional curriculum for high school students and other interested groups and organizations. CFOG programs are open to the public, and the organization’s website, www.ctfog.org, provides news, resources and related information on the subject.

Elected as officers of the organization for the coming year are: President – Bernard Kavaler, managing principal of Express Strategies and editor of the Connecticut by the Numbers website; Vice President – David Fink, consultant for the Partnership for Strong Communities; Secretary – Mitchell Pearlman, former executive director and general counsel of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission; Treasurer – Michele Jacklin, former reporter/columnist for The Hartford Courant and Glastonbury Town Council member. Kavaler and Fink are both West Hartford residents.

“Our mission has never been more important than it is today. CFOG’s driving vision has consistently been to firmly establish the cornerstone of democracy: open government processes overseen by an informed and engaged citizenry in Connecticut,” said incoming president Bernard Kavaler.

Also serving on the Executive Committee are immediate past president Gary Gold, Aaron Bayer, Daniel Klau, Colleen Murphy, Joy Hainlein, Paul Marks, and Tom Puleo.

Elected to the Board of the non-profit organization for the first time:

Arielle Levin Becker is Communications Director for the Connecticut Health Foundation. She previously covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror and The Hartford Courant. She has also covered small towns, courts, and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the National Health Journalism Fellowship.

Robert Frahm is a freelance writer, specializing in issues related to education. He was a longtime education reporter in Racine, WI and Hartford, including 23 years as chief education writer for the Hartford Courant. He also covered education for CT Mirror. Frahm lives in West Hartford.

Mike Savino, State Capitol and general assignment reporter for the Meriden Record-Journal, previously covered state government for the Journal Inquirer of Manchester. A University of Connecticut graduate, Savino has more than a decade of journalism experience, also having worked at The Chronicle of Willimantic. In 2016, Mike won the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information’s Steven J. Collins award for his coverage of issues related to open government and public access.

Marie K. Shanahan is assistant professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut. Her academic research and teaching focus on the intersection of journalism and digital technology. Previously, she spent five years as a city desk reporter at The Hartford Courant, then transitioned into a digital news producer and online editor. In 2010, AOL hired Shanahan as a Connecticut Regional Editor for Patch.com, where she was responsible for recruitment, development and management of a dozen local news websites in north central Connecticut. She joined UConn as a tenure-track assistant professor in August 2011.

For more information, visit www.ctfog.org.

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