Thursday, January 28, 2010

Allentown Sues Daily & State Agency Over Records Disclosure Order

The Morning CallImage via Wikipedia
The city of Allentown, Pa. is suing The Morning Call, a Tribune Co.-owned daily newspaper, and the Commonwealth's public records office that ordered the city to release public documents requested by the paper under Pennsylvania's right-to-know law (Act 3 of 2008).

The suit filed in Lehigh County Court is in response to an initial request by Call reporter Jarrett Renshaw that sought Email messages and schedules for Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Managing Director Ken Bennington and Joyce Marin, director of the Department of Community and Economic Development. The city argued compliance required prepayment of $898 to cover the cost of redacting and photocopying 3,592 pages.

The public records office decided the city failed to justify the need for redacting the public records and that even if such an action were required, why it could not be performed electronically in less time and at lower cost. The agency agreed to review its initial ruling, but declined the city's request for a new hearing and recusal of the hearing officer, whom the city believes is biased because she used to work for a prominent Pennsylvania media lawyer with an active right-to-know law case load.

Act 3 of 2008, which took effect in January 2009,  presumes government documents are public records. With apologies to Billy Joel: "Well, we're waiting here in Allentown for the Pennsylvania (records) we never found..."
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1 comment:

  1. No fair, you quoted the only song about Allentown. That only leaves "42nd Street." Jerry Ohrbach says, "Allentown? I'm offering you a chance to be famous and you say, Allentown?"