By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case that will determine the future of the state’s Open Records office.
On his way out of office, Governor Tom Corbett appointed Republican legislative aide Erik Arneson to fill a six-year term as Open Records executive director. Upon taking office, Governor Tom Wolf promptly tried to fire him, sparking the court battle over whether the job is like a cabinet post — filled at the will of the governor — or, as Arneson argues, necessarily independent.
“Picture a situation where a governor, maybe not this governor, but some governor doesn’t like decisions that the office makes,” Arneson says, “and so retaliates by firing the director.”
Arneson won at the Commonwealth Court level and has been doing the job. He’s already made a major ruling: that people seeking information from public records can photograph them with a smart phone.