Open Records Director will stay on the job

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Erik Arneson

HARRISBURG, Pa — The director of the Office of Open Records will stay on the job after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in his favor today. Governor Tom Wolf tried to fire Erik Arneson, who was appointed to the position by outgoing Governor Tom Corbett shortly before he left office. Arneson sued and won a lower court decision to keep his job.

Wolf appealed that decision and the Supreme Court stood with the lower court’s ruling that the six-year term of the open records director is intended to eliminate any governor’s power to remove the director.

“On a personal level, I’m thrilled, it’s a huge relief,” says Arneson.

He added that the decision is important for the independence of the office.

“If the director of this office is an at-will employee, it really makes it impossible, I think, for the public to have any confidence that decisions were being made impartially,” he says.

“The Wolf Administration looks forward to working with Mr. Arneson to promote transparency. Governor Wolf has already taken many steps to ensure government is ethical and open to the public including enacting a gift ban, reforming legal contracting, releasing his calendar each week and posting cabinet expenses online. The governor will continue to look for ways to increase openness in government,” said the administration in a statement issued following the ruling this morning.