By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Less than a month after taking office, one of the first moves made by new Governor Tom Wolf will be argued before a Commonwealth Court judge this morning.
Senate Republicans and the former director of the Office of Open Records are seeking an injunction against Democrat Wolf’s decision to fire the director.
Each side argues it is fighting to maintain the independence of the Office of Open Records.
Governor Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan says Erik Arneson, a longtime Senate Republican staffer, was appointed by an outgoing governor during his final days in office, “and the process in which Mr. Arneson was put in place undermines the very mission of that office.”
But Arneson says having a director of the Office of Open Records who can be removed prior to serving a full six-year term also undermines the mission of the office, which is to decide on Right To Know Law requests.
“If this office is not independent, if the director is not beyond the reach of being an ‘at-will’ employee, it will cease to function as we know it,” Arneson says.
Both sides claim prior state court rulings support their position.