Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Corbett's Effort at Anti-transparency

Governor Tom Corbett is under fire. Not for his austere budget or even the seemingly never-ending Penn State saga. No, this time he's under fire for lack of simple common sense.

His administration is appealing rulings that say state employee's e-mails and direct phone lines should be available to the public. To be clear, we're not talking about reams of e-mail messages or hours of telephone conversations. The Open Records request was for the e-mail address and direct telephone numbers but the administration doesn't believe that the taxpayers should have access to this sort of thing.


The editorial board at The Patriot News in Harrisburg gave this interpretation:

Their argument? That the phone numbers and email addresses contain “personal identification information” and should be exempt. Personal information? The next thing you know, we won’t be able to refer to the governor as Tom Corbett — that’s a bit too personal — we’ll have to start calling him “he who cannot be named.”

Daily News political columnist John Baer openly wondered who in the administration would have taken this position:

It must have been approved by someone who never heard Tom Corbett as candidate or governor proclaim advocacy of open, transparent government, including in his inaugural address when he said, "We must restore transparency."

At this point, I'd settle for restoring a little common sense.
This whole thing is ridiculous, even in a state known for painfully inadequate open records laws. Corbett should have let this one slide and it would have not had an impact on anyone. Instead, he's got egg on face and is in a perfectly indefensible position.

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