Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Erik Arneson PA Open Records chief?; Health of area lakes studied

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 11, 2015 9:58 AM


What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, June 11, 2015:

One of Gov. Tom Wolf's first orders of business after he was inaugurated in January was to fire Erik Arneson as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records.

Arneson had been appointed to the position by former Gov. Tom Corbett just weeks before Corbett's term expired.

Wolf said the Arneson appointment wasn't transparent and Arneson went to court.

Commonwealth Court ruled Wednesday that Wolf had overstepped his authority and couldn't fire the head of OOR without cause.

Late Wednesday, the Wolf Administration appealed the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Arneson appears on Thursday's Smart Talk.

A study by researchers at Dickinson College and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources of the health of three lakes in Cumberland County could tell us a lot about how storms and weather affect water quality and ecology in the bodies of water.

Rachel Wagoner, Resource Manager at DCNR and Kristin Strock, an aquatic limnologist and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Dickinson appear on the program to discuss why the research is important.


Rachel Wagoner & Kristin Strock

Published in News, Smart Talk

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  • Rich img 2015-06-11 09:18

    This position should be above reproach. Mr Arneson, if you had been ethical, you would have, on the day Gov Wolf was sworn in, offered to resign, but with the provision that you would like to stay on. Your decision to not do so proves you do not have the ethics to uphold the position.

  • Rich img 2015-06-11 09:28

    If the state constitution were to be modified, so that the runnerup in the governor's race had the right to appoint watchdog officers (this position, Auditor General, Attorney General, etc) we might avoid these problems, but since neither Mr Arneson, nor Scott seems to have an example of this kind of shenanigan, Mr Aneson should go.

    Since Corbett is the first Gov in (how long?) to lose reelection, he should not be the one setting precedent.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-06-11 10:07

    Amy asks...
    Are they looking for volunteers to help with monitoring?

    • Rachel Wagoner img 2015-06-11 14:45

      Thanks for your interest Amy,
      Volunteer opportunities are available through
      PA Parks and Forestry Foundation
      DCNR's Conservation Volunteer Program

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-06-11 10:27

    Rick states...
    Hello. I've heard a lot of soundbites on the Commonwealth Court ruling about the "intent" of the Open Records Law.
    It seems a little silly (and legally expensive) that "intent" has to be an issue with the OR office.

    Why doesn't the Legislature work on "clarifying the appointment/removal process" so there are no future "court challenges", including re-appointment deadlines ?

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-06-11 10:36

    Manuel says...
    I live on Carbaugh Run, and regularly hike up to Fuller Lake, as well as the Carbaugh Run reservoir. When you compare these two water sites, you can see a great impact that people have on the water. How much impact by regular human interaction was given to your study and how Fuller Lake changes between summer, when people are abusing this lake, and winter, when the lake is dormant and very little human impact occurs?

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  • easterimages img 2016-05-26 12:52

    but since neither Mr Arneson, nor Scott seems to have an example of this kind of shenanigan, Mr Aneson should go.
    Since Corbett is the first Gov in (how long?) to lose reelection, he should not be the one setting precedent
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