Attorney General: Honorable George Jepsen, State Capitol, 2002-011 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

April 16, 2002

Honorable George Jepsen
Senate Majority Leader
General Assembly
State Capitol
Hartford, CT 06106

Dear Senator Jepsen:

You have requested our opinion regarding the responsibility for providing police services at the University of Connecticut Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford and at the Adriaen’s Landing Project in Hartford.

The General Assembly's directives on this issue are straightforward and specific, as might be expected of legislation establishing projects of extraordinary scope. In light of the differences between the two projects, the legislature chose different divisions of the police powers. At the stadium, the General Assembly expressly granted to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management the authority to determine how police and security services will be provided. In exercising this authority, the Secretary must solicit input regarding security issues from the Town of East Hartford, and he must ensure that the Town receives reasonable reimbursement for any additional public safety personnel costs it incurs as a result of stadium events. At Adriaens Landing, by contrast, the legislature also gave the Secretary the authority to arrange for police services during its initial development phase, if he concludes that such services are necessary to the project, but he has no authority to provide police services at the site after its completion.

Our conclusion and reasoning involve simply and solely interpretation of statutory provisions that the legislature could revise if it deems appropriate.

At the outset of our analysis, I emphasize that the development of Adriaen’s Landing and the construction and operation of the UCONN Stadium at Rentschler Field are projects of extraordinary magnitude. The significance of the projects to the state as a whole is reflected in the breadth and scope of the enabling legislation. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 32-650 through 32-668 (Chapter 588z). In the introductory portion of that legislation, the General Assembly declares:

[T]he general welfare, health and prosperity of the people of the state of Connecticut will be promoted by the holding in the vicinity of its capital city of Hartford of university sporting events, other athletic contests, entertainment events and other public activities; . . . that a convention center, related parking facilities and associated housing, entertainment, recreation, retail, hotel and office development in the capital city of Hartford . . . are matters of state-wide concern and the provisions of sections 32-650 to 32- 668, inclusive, relating to municipal powers are necessary to effect the purposes hereof; . . . that the development and operation of the stadium facility, convention center, related parking facilities and other related public improvements and state participation in and assistance to such associated private development are significant governmental uses and functions for which the exercise of state power may be exercised . . . ; and that, therefore, it is necessary and in the public interest and for the public benefit and good that the provisions of sections 32-651 to 32-668, inclusive, are declared as a matter of legislative determination.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-650 (emphasis added).

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-655(a) bestows on the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management broad powers with respect to the development of the "overall project"1 and in particular the operation of the stadium facility. This authority extends to every aspect of the stadium's operations, including safety and security. Relevant to the present issue, the statute specifically provides the Secretary authority to:

(7) Undertake, perform or otherwise provide for stadium facility operations . . . and enter into agreements with respect to stadium facility operations including, but not limited to, . . . safety, security, . . . ;

(8) Coordinate the overall project and stadium facility operations with other departments or agencies of the state, any municipality, political subdivision, quasi-public agency, public authority or other public body . . . each of which, notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, may enter into a written agreement with the secretary . . . ;

(11) Make and execute any other contracts and all other instruments necessary or convenient or desirable for the exercise of the powers and functions of the state and coordinate, delegate, implement and complete any or all of the overall project;

(12) Delegate or assign to the authority or any other agency, department or public instrumentality of the state, including any quasi-public agency, such rights, interests, activities, responsibilities and obligations of the secretary as, in the opinion of the secretary, are appropriate, necessary or desirable in order to effectuate the overall project or to provide for stadium facility operations; . . . .

(15) Do any and all other things necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of and exercise the powers expressly granted pursuant to the secretary under sections 32-650 to 32-668, inclusive.

(Emphasis added.)

"Stadium facility operations," as used in this statute, is defined in Conn. Gen. Stats. § 32-651(11) as

all activities related to the use, management and operation of the stadium facility including, without limitation, maintenance and repairs, purchases of supplies, the addition or replacement of furniture, fixtures and equipment, safety and security, crowd and traffic control, ticket and premium seating promotion and sales, ticketing and box office operations, event booking, scheduling and promotion, event operations, stadium parking management, marketing, promotion and public relations, advertising sales, media and broadcast activities and merchandising, catering and concessions.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-651(11)(emphasis added).

Accordingly, the legislature has chosen to give the Secretary broad, unprecedented powers to provide for all aspects of the operations of the stadium, a state owned facility,2 including the express authority to provide for safety and security at the stadium facility.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-668 dictates that the provisions of Chapter 588z authorizing the development of Adriaen's Landing and Rentschler Field are to take precedence over any conflicting provisions of the General Statutes:

[The enabling statutes], being necessary for the welfare of the state and its inhabitants, shall be liberally construed, so as to effect their purposes. In connection with the overall project and stadium facility operations, the secretary, the Treasurer, the Comptroller, . . . and all other persons shall be governed by [the enabling statutes], which shall control in the event of any inconsistency between [the enabling statutes] and any other public or special act of the state or any agreement. (emphasis added)

Reading these provisions together -- as we must "to advance the legislature's purpose of creating a consistent, rational and harmonious body of law;" Kim v. Magnotta, 249 Conn. 94, 109 (1999) -- we conclude that the legislature has granted to the Secretary the responsibility for determining how security is to be provided at the UCONN stadium, notwithstanding the terms of any other state statute or municipal law.

Although this legislation allows the Secretary to choose the manner and means of discharging that obligation, his authority is tempered by the requirement that he consult with representatives of the Town of East Hartford on an ongoing basis, and take into account "matters of local concern relating to the operation of the stadium facility." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-655(b). Undoubtedly, these concerns would include managing the crowds and increased traffic accompanying stadium events, as well as planning for continuity and coordination of state and local services at the stadium. Subsection (b) also mandates that the Secretary reimburse East Hartford or any other affected town for "the reasonably determined incremental costs to such towns of additional public safety personnel required prior to, during, and following events at the stadium facility as a result of expected crowds, traffic and other event-related activities." The inclusion of this provision demonstrates the General Assembly’s recognition that the involvement and support of the Town of East Hartford and surrounding communities will be vital to the safety and success of public events held at the stadium.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-665 enumerates certain provisions of the General Statutes that are inapplicable to the overall project. Statutes pertaining to the police powers of municipalities, including Conn. Gen. Stat. § 7-2843, are not included in that list. Interpreting the statutory scheme as a whole, however, we conclude that the absence of a reference to § 7-284 in § 32-665 does not negate the legislature's grant of authority to the Secretary over police and security services at the stadium. This conclusion is required because § 32-665 must be construed in light of the broad, unambiguous language in § 32-668, which provides that, in the event of any conflict between Chapter 588z and any other provision of the general statutes, the provisions of Chapter 588z control. Because the authority of municipal police departments under § 7-284 is in direct conflict with the Secretary’s authority under § 32-655(a), the latter provision must govern.

In contrast, the statutory provisions listed in § 32-665 are not in direct conflict with the provisions of Chapter 588z. Instead, they are all statutes that impose extensive regulatory requirements on state construction projects and would, in the absence of § 32-665, potentially delay the construction of the UCONN stadium and Adrian’s Landing Projects.4 These statutory exemptions are similar to those given with respect to other state projects to ensure a minimum of regulatory hurdles in order to speed completion of such projects. See, e.g., Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10a-109n(e)(UCONN 2000 Project). Because the statutes enumerated in § 32-665 do not necessarily conflict with the provisions of chapter 588z, they are not encompassed within the preemptive language of § 32-668. Consequently, in order to ensure that these statutes not apply to the project, the legislature listed them separately for the sake of clarity and in furtherance of the statutory intent behind the project.

As discussed above, because § 7-284 is in direct conflict with the provisions of chapter 588z, and does not specifically regulate state construction projects as the statutes listed in § 32-665 do, it was unnecessary to list it among the statutes cited in § 32-665. Rather, the preemptive language contained in § 32-668 controls to give the Secretary control over safety and security at the stadium, notwithstanding any other statutes to the contrary. We therefore conclude that, under the current statutory scheme, the Secretary has the responsibility and authority to provide for police services at the stadium, subject to his duty to consult with municipal representatives and take matters of local concern into account.

We reach a somewhat different conclusion regarding police services at Adriaen’s Landing. As explained above, Chapter 588z places responsibility for the development of the overall project in the hands of the Secretary. If the Secretary determines that the provision of police services is necessary to facilitate the completion of the project, his authority allows him to arrange for police services at any site within the project during the development phase. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-655 (8), (9), (11), (12) and (15).

Unlike the stadium facility at Rentschler Field, no part of the completed Adriaen’s Landing will be owned directly by the state. Instead, the development is a mixed public-private venture, in which some properties will be owned by private parties, and others will be owned by the Capital City Economic Development Authority, which is not a department, institution or agency of the state; see Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-601(a). Moreover, in contrast to the Secretary’s comprehensive responsibility for the ongoing management of the stadium once it is completed, Chapter 588z does not give the Secretary similar responsibility for the ongoing operation of the facilities at Adriaen’s Landing. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-655(a). We therefore conclude that the Secretary has not been granted authority to provide police protection at Adriaen’s Landing once that development is finished and its facilities become operational.

We note that some municipal leaders and local police officials have expressed concern about the breadth of the Secretary's authority, and have raised compelling policy reasons to maintain local control over safety and security at the stadium. Our conclusion here is based on the clear statutory grant of authority in the present statutes, which applies only to the new UConn Stadium. We express no opinion as to the wisdom of the statutory scheme or the choices made by the legislature in enacting it. In view of the strong concerns raised by local officials, the legislature may wish to reexamine the issue of safety and security at the stadium and consider whether the present approach best serves the purposes underlying this project.

Very truly yours,


RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL


1The "overall project" is defined to mean both the development of the UCONN Stadium at Rentschler Field and the site commonly referred to as "Adriaen’s Landing." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-651(22); see also Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-650a.

2"Stadium facility" means "a multipurpose sports stadium . . . to be owned by the state. . . ." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 32-651(34)(emphasis added).

3Conn. Gen. Stat. § 7-284 provides in pertinent part:

When police protection is necessary or required at any . . . place of amusement, sport contest or hockey, baseball or basketball game, or any other exhibition or contest, which is being held or is to be held in any municipality, the amount of such protection necessary shall be determined and shall be furnished by (1) the chief or superintendent of the police department in any municipality having an organized or paid police department . . . .

4See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 3-14b (requirements regarding sale of state-owned land); Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 4-166(12), (13), (14) and 4-167 to 4-174 (procedures for the adoption of agency regulations); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4-181a (contested cases under the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act); Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 4a-1 to 4a-59a and 4a-63 to 4a-76 (competitive bidding requirements on state contracts); Title 4b (state real property); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16a-31 (application of the state plan of conservation and development); Chapter 97a (historic districts and historic properties); Chapter 124 (zoning requirements); Chapter 126 (municipal planning commissions); Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-311 to 14-314c (developments affecting state highway traffic); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-37 (regulation of water supply wells and springs); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-16 (actions for relief from unreasonable pollution); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-19(a) (administrative proceedings concerning unreasonable pollution); and Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-12 (review of state agency construction plans).


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