Pa. High court: Governor can't fire Pa. open records director

Written by The Associated Press | Oct 27, 2015 11:04 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The state Supreme Court says the director of the commonwealth's Office of Open Records can't be removed by the governor without cause, in a decision that keeps Erik Arneson in place as the agency's head.  

The court has ruled 3-1 that Governor Tom Wolf overstepped his authority when he fired Arneson shortly after taking office in January. 

The majority says the Legislature gave the director a six-year term to help insulate the office from the potential for a governor to try to coerce how it interprets the Right-to-Know Law. 

Arneson's been leading the office as the case has been litigated.

He says he's thrilled with the decision and doesn't think it will affect day-to-day operations. 

In a statement, Jeff Sheridan, the governor's spokesman, says the administration is looking foward to working the Arneson.

"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," he wrote. "The governor will continue to look for ways to increase openness in government."

The high court is upholding a lower court decision in June to reinstate Arneson.

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