by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 9 April 2007) - The resolution of an open records dispute relating to the state Treasurer's office offers no guarantees about future public access.
The Treasurer and the Patriot-News of Harrisburg were going to go to court over whether certain legislative payroll records should be publicly disclosed.
The state House just told the Treasurer it has no objection to their release, so the Treasurer has dropped the court inquiry.
But Treasurer's office spokeswoman Elizabeth Kupchinsky acknowledges this leaves a gray area gray in Pennsylvania's open records law.
"All we know is that we were sent a letter from the House officials saying that there is no objection to the release of this information. And that was, I guess, our main question. We didn't know if there would be objections," Kupchinsky says.
Another pending dispute remains unresolved.
Activist Gene Stilp had made a broader request than that of the Patriot-News, and at the moment, his inquiry may still be headed to court.
But the acting Treasurer says he's hopeful this matter can also be resolved without asking Commonwealth Court for guidance.