Attorney General: Mr. James F. Blesso, Bureau of Statewide Emergency 1990-034 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

October 17, 1990

Mr. James F. Blesso
Administrator
Bureau of Statewide Emergency
Telecommunications
20 Grand Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106

Dear Mr. Blesso:

In your letter dated January 24, 1990, you request our advice on the Bureau's implementation of 1989 Conn. Pub. Acts No. 89-259. Public Acts No. 89-259 contains provisions for certification of telecommunicators as well as provisions for automatic certification of telecommunicators who meet special requirements. You seek our advice on the following questions relative to certification and automatic certification of telecommunicators:

1. For what period of time may a person be

employed as a telecommunicator after

January 1, 1990 without being certified

by the Bureau?

2. Are individuals who were employed as

telecommunicators for any period of time

prior to January 1, 1990, eligible for

automatic certification under Subsection (e)

of Section (1) of Public Acts No. 89-259?

In answer to your first question, it is our opinion that, after January 1, 1990, a person may not be employed as a telecommunicator for a period exceeding one year without being certified by the bureau.

With respect to your second question, it is our opinion that only those individuals who were employed as a telecommunicator on January 1, 1990 are eligible for automatic certification.

Subsection (c) of Section (1) of 1989 Conn. Pub. Acts No. 89-259 provides as follows:

On and after January 1, 1990, no person may be employed as a telecommunicator by any public safety agency or private safety agency for a period exceeding one year unless he has been certified by the bureau upon successfully completing a telecommunicator training program and demonstrating proficiency in the performance of telecommunicator program standards or successfully completing a written or oral examination developed by the bureau.

When a statute is clear and unambiguous, there is no need to search the legislative history as to the intent of the legislature. State v. White, 204 Conn. 410, 421, 528 A.2d 811 (1987). The intent is found in the words used. Sutton v. Lopes, 201 Conn. ll5, ll8, 513 A.2d l39 (1986).

Subsection (c) of Section (1) of 1989 Conn. Pub. Acts No. 89-259 is clear and unambiguous. It expressly provides that on and after January 1, 1990, no person may be employed as a telecommunicator for a period exceeding one year unless that person has been certified by the Bureau. Thus, we must conclude, as the statute directs, that on and after January 1, 1990 all persons employed as telecommunicators must become certified within one year of their employment.

With respect to your second question, Subsection (e) of Section (1) of 1989 Conn. Pub. Acts No. 89-259 states as follows:

Any telecommunicator employed by a public or private safety agency on a permanent basis on or before January 1, 1990, shall be deemed to have met all certification requirements and shall be automatically certified under the provisions of this section. Such certification shall expire when the person terminates his permanent employment with such agency.

This subsection authorizes automatic certification of persons who were employed on a permanent basis as telecommunicators with a public or private safety agency on or before January 1, 1990. It also provides that the automatic certification expires upon the person's termination from such agency. Your concern is with whether a person who had been employed as a telecommunicator at any time prior to January 1, 1990, is eligible for automatic certification.

Common sense must be used when construing a statute and it must be assumed that the legislature intended to accomplish a rational, not bizarre result. Beloff v. Progressive Casualty Ins. Co., 203 Conn. 45, 58, 523 A.2d 477 (1987). Moreover, statutes must be construed as a whole so as to reconcile all parts to the extent possible. Ganim v. Roberts, 204 Conn. 760, 763, 529 A.2d l94 (1987).

Subsection (e) must be construed to permit automatic certification of only those individuals employed on a permanent basis as a telecommunicator on January 1, 1990. If construed any other way, the portion of subsection (e) which permits automatic certification could not be reconciled with the portion which requires expiration of that automatic certification upon termination of employment with the employing public or private safety agency.

Stated differently, if automatic certification were permitted for anyone employed as a telecommunicator before January 1, 1990, regardless of whether that person was so employed on January 1, 1990, then that person's certification could never expire, even if he terminates his employment, because he would always have been employed as a telecommunicator before January 1, 1990. Moreover, if subsection (e) is construed to permit automatic certification of anyone employed as a telecommunicator prior to January 1, 1990, then a person who may have been a telecommunicator twenty years ago, but who has not been employed in the field since, would be eligible for automatic certification. Such a result would indeed be bizarre.

Accordingly, it is our opinion that subsection (e) must be construed to permit automatic certification of only those persons who were employed as telecommunicators on January 1, 1990.

Very truly yours,

CLARINE NARDI RIDDLE
ATTORNEY GENERAL

Henri Alexandre
Assistant Attorney General

CNR/HA/ec


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