Welcome!

News Feed Item

Treasurer McCord Files Petition to Safeguard State Employee Safety

Commonwealth Court Asked to Decide If Right to Know Law Applies Where Personal Safety and Security Is in Question

HARRISBURG, PA--(Marketwired - February 24, 2014) - Faced with the threat of a lawsuit, or releasing information that could jeopardize the safety and security of some public employees, Treasurer Rob McCord today asked Commonwealth Court to resolve a conflict concerning the application of the state Right to Know Law.

"I take seriously my obligation to protect the safety and security of our public employees. By filing this motion, I hope to ensure the protection of our public employees as provided in the Right to Know Law," McCord said.

McCord brought the matter before the court following a written threat to sue by a group calling itself Pennsylvanians for Union Reform (PFUR). PFUR said it will sue the commonwealth if Treasury does not produce an un-redacted list of personal information for all state employees. The state's Right to Know Law exempts some of that information from public release if it would put the personal safety of the employee at risk, such as law enforcement officers, or state employees with protection-from-abuse orders.

But PFUR and its president, Simon Campbell, have requested complete employee information under another law, the state Administrative Code, arguing they do not want the Right to Know Law to apply.

"The Legislature created a comprehensive system in which requests for public records are handled through the Right to Know Law. It is absurd to suggest that the Legislature did not intend the law to apply in all circumstances involving public records," McCord said. "PFUR appears to want to pick and choose when the Right to Know Law applies."

With the question of whether the Administrative Code or the Right to Know Law applies in such cases seemingly destined for a court decision either way, McCord, in his official capacity, filed a Petition for Review in the Nature of an Action for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.

"As a public official, I'm in the position of either complying with the organization's demand and releasing information that has been deemed confidential under the Right to Know Law -- for good reason, in my opinion -- or redacting the information and subjecting the Treasury Department to litigation. We thought it best to ask the court proactively to clarify the issue before we proceed," McCord said.

On January 15, the attorney for PFUR wrote to the Treasurer, asking for a list of employees and related information. Under the Administrative Code, Treasury annually receives electronic files containing lists of all employees of each executive branch agency. Those lists have not been redacted to exclude information on employees who have active protection from abuse orders, are domestic and sexual violence victims, or are confidential undercover agents or other at-risk law enforcement officers.

PFUR's attorney specifically stated their request was not being made under the Right to Know Law, but instead under the Administrative Code, which says the employee records furnished to Treasury are "public information." Treasury's legal counsel responded a week later by informing the PFUR attorney that Treasury would consider the request under the Right to Know Law. That statute and a subsequent court decision direct public agencies such as Treasury to treat all written requests for access to records as Right to Know requests.

PFUR's attorney in turn wrote to Treasury on January 27, insisting the request be considered under the Administrative Code and giving the department until February 21 to produce the information sought. Failure to do so, he wrote, would result in him filing a mandamus action in court to enforce the provisions of the Administrative Code.

"The Right to Know Law is valuable for increasing government transparency and giving citizens access to information they deserve to have. It was never intended, however, to compromise the physical safety of law enforcement officers or victims of criminal violence, and the Legislature recognized that and included some proper exceptions when it wrote the statute," McCord said.

"No matter how Mr. Campbell and his group intend to use the information, a determination to put it into the public domain is something I believe would be outside the scope of my duties as Treasurer, and irresponsible," he added. "That's why I have asked the court to affirm that the Right to Know Law exemptions should apply."

The administrative agency employee list could contain the identity of undercover law enforcement personnel, the identity of persons who are participants in the Crime Victim Advocate's Address Confidentiality program, the birth days and months of employees, and persons who have obtained protection from abuse orders in which their residency and work address are subject to court-ordered confidentiality.

Under the Right to Know Law, public records are exempt from disclosure if they would, for example, reveal personal identification information, personal financial information, victim information, or information that may jeopardize the safety of a victim, endanger someone's physical or personal safety or security, or hinder an arrest, prosecution or conviction. The Right to Know Law compels an agency to consider applicable exclusions when determining whether information is exempt from disclosure.

For more information, visit www.patreasury.gov.

Media contact: Gary Tuma, 717-787-2465 or [email protected]

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
"We work around really protecting the confidentiality of information, and by doing so we've developed implementations of encryption through a patented process that is known as superencipherment," explained Richard Blech, CEO of Secure Channels Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...