HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf overstepped his powers when he fired the director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday in ordering the director’s reinstatement with back pay and benefits.
Wolf vowed to appeal the Commonwealth Court ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.READ MORE: Gov. Wolf Says Rite Aid Pharmacies In State Will Receive Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine For School Employees And Students
“The governor’s position on this has not changed. He was well within his rights to dismiss Erik Arneson. We disagree with the court’s decision and we will file an appeal,” said Wolf’s spokesman, Jeffrey Sheridan.
Wolf fired Arneson, a longtime Republican Senate aide, just days after he became the executive director of the agency – provoking one of his earliest clashes with the GOP-controlled Legislature.
Arneson’s lawyers argued that lawmakers made it clear in the Right-to-Know Law that they wanted the job to be independent of the governor.READ MORE: 'Moderna Arm': Some People Develop Reaction To Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
They cited its six-year term that outlasts a single gubernatorial term, the need to maintain a separation of powers within government and the Office of Open Records’ role in making quasi-judicial decisions.
Wolf’s lawyers argued that decades of state court precedent backed its position that the firing was within his authority.
Arneson’s lawyers did not immediately returning a call seeking comment.High School Spring Sports Kick Off After Being Canceled Last Year During Pandemic's Start
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