The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled today that the Director of the Office of Open Records be reinstated, a blow to Governor Tom Wolf.
Now the Court is ordering that Arneson be reinstated.
“In order for the OOR and the Executive Director to fulfill their quasi-judicial duties in the fairest and most impartial manner possible, they must be viewed outside the sphere of executive branch control and the influence of the Governor’s removal power except for cause,” Judge Patricia McCullough wrote in the majority opinion.
The Governor’s spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan indicated that Wolf’s position hasn’t changed.
“He was in his right to dismiss Erik Arneson, we disagree with the court’s decision and we will file an appeal,” he said.
It is doubtful, though, that Gov. Wolf still views the dispute as “a gift”.
Arneson meanwhile was ecstatic about his victory.
“Today’s decision by the Commonwealth Court is a tremendous step forward for the Office of Open Records,” Arneson stated. “My position has been consistent: The Office of Open Records must be truly independent in order for it to function as it was intended.”
“I very much look forward to establishing a positive working relationship with Governor Wolf and his administration.”