New Address for the OOR

The Office of Open Records has moved to a new location:
333 Market St., 16th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101-2234

That’s also our new mailing address, but our other contact information has not changed:

Web: http://www.openrecords.pa.gov/
Email: openrecords@pa.gov
Telephone: (717) 346-9903
Fax: (717) 425-5343

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First-Ever Survey of AOROs

Open records_logo stackedThe vast majority of government agencies in Pennsylvania — 87.4% — received 1 or fewer Right-to-Know (RTK) requests per week in 2016.

Similarly, 72.8% of agencies spent 1 hour or less per week (and 91.8% spent 5 hours or less) responding to RTK requests in 2016.

Those are some of the highlights from the first-ever statewide survey of Agency Open Records Officers (AOROs), the people responsible for responding to requests filed under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). The survey was conducted by the Office of Open Records’ (OOR) in February 2017.

Nearly 1,300 AOROs responded, including Commonwealth agencies and local agencies of all types (i.e., municipalities, school districts, counties, police departments, charter schools, and more). We worked with numerous organizations and the Governor’s office to get as many responses as possible.

The OOR has always had good data on appeals filed under the RTKL (because the vast majority of appeals are filed with the OOR), but this survey was the first large-scale attempt to collect good data about the requests received by agencies.

(As a result of House Resolution 50, the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee has conducted a second statewide survey of AOROs. The OOR provided input to LBFC, and I expect that survey to provide additional insights.)

The OOR’s survey asked five substantive questions:

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OOR – 2017 Annual Training

Open records_logo stackedOn October 23, the Office of Open Records held its annual training session in Harrisburg. The session included presentations by Erik Arneson, executive director; Charles Brown, chief counsel; Delene Lantz, general counsel; and George Spiess, director of training and outreach.

This year, for the first time, the training was available via webinar. We’ve also uploaded the complete event to YouTube:

To learn about upcoming training events, sign up for the OOR’s email newsletter. You can also request a training session.

Here’s the presentation we used for this year’s annual training session:

OOR Annual Training – October 23, 2017 – PDF
OOR Annual Training – October 23, 2017 – PPTX

Presentation to Public Utility Commission CLE

Open records_logo stackedLast Thursday, I took part in a panel discussion at a CLE organized by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. We discussed a number of issues related to the Right-to-Know Law and the Office of Open Records.

Among the issues covered were the OOR’s Final Determinations in two cases (both captioned David Hommrich and Sunrise Energy LLC v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission), 2016-2010 and 2017-0079. The PUC has appealed both cases to Commonwealth Court.

It was a great discussion, and I very much appreciate the invitation.

Here’s the presentation I used:

Public Utility Commission CLE – June 1, 2017 – PDF
Public Utility Commission CLE – June 1, 2017 – PPTX