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Gov. Wolf fires open records chief

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Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said Thursday he’s fired Erik Arneson, the new executive director of the state’s Office of Open Records.

Former Gov. Tom Corbett (R) appointed Arneson earlier this month after former executive director Terry Mutchler resigned.

In a statement, Wolf questioned the timing of Arneson’s appointment.

“Prior to being sworn-in as governor, my predecessor put forth several eleventh hour executive nominations, and he named a new executive director of the Office of Open Records. These moves were murky and the process was anything but open and transparent,” said Wolf. “We must work to make sure every Pennsylvanian has good reason to trust the government that serves them, and these are the types of actions that make people legitimately distrust their government.”

Prior to taking the job in the open records office, Arneson worked for state Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R). Arneson played a role in developing the state’s Right-to-Know Law.

Wolf named Nathan Byerly acting executive director and says he’ll conduct a national search to fill the job.

In addition to terminating Arneson, Wolf recalled all pending executive nominations made before he became governor.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R) said, “With today’s blanket recall and attempted removal of Erik Arneson as Director of the Office of Open Records, Gov. Wolf shows he firmly places ideology above qualifications. The Senate will perform our due diligence on all cabinet and other nominees – regardless of who submitted their name for consideration.”

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