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: Motorcycle Driver Injured In Crash With Car In Larimer
“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: Bethel Park Resident Raises $1 Million For AbleGamers Charity
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.Police Arrest Two Men In Kiski Twp. Following Reports Of Man Prowling Around Homes
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)