Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In the Know

Open Records Management

PA Right-to-Know Law

Open Records Officer

James Ryan
Position - City Clerk
Business Address - 40 East Market Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711
Phone - (570) 208-4117
Fax - (570) 208-4171

Right to Know Form 
Email Completed forms to 
The City of Wilkes-Barre complies with all regulations, policies and procedures of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. 

Pennsylvania Office of Open Records
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, Plaza Level
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone - (717) 346-9903

Open Records

Mission Statement
"The Mission of the Office of Open Records is to enforce the state’s Right-to-Know law and to serve as a resource for citizens, public officials and members of the media in obtaining public records of their government."  

A Message from Terry Mutchler, Executive Director
Ensuring open and honest government is a bedrock principle of democracy. It can only be attained through the unfettered exchange of information between citizens and their government. A citizen’s right-to-know, sometimes known as freedom of information, fosters accountability, prevents abuses of power and promotes trust in government. Pennsylvania has codified this important right to access government records in Act 3 of 2008, called the Right-to-Know law.

Signed on February 14, 2008, the Right-To-Know Law fundamentally changed the way people access public records of their government. The hallmark of this new law, which fully became effective January 1, 2009, is its presumption of openness. For the first time in Pennsylvania history, citizens no longer have to prove that a record is public and that it should be released. Now, a government agency must presume that a record is a public record available for inspection or copying. If the government agency chooses to withhold a record, the agency has the burden to prove – with legal citation – why that record should not be available to the public.
The law, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, also established an Office of Open Records. The mission of the Office of Open Records is to enforce the new Right-to-Know law and to serve as a resource to citizens, public officials and members of the media. It is my great privilege to serve as the Commonwealth’s first Executive Director of this independent office. You have my pledge that in this six-year term, I will work tirelessly to ensure compliance with the law and to help citizens, government officials and members of the media better understand their rights and obligations.  My goal is to apply this law fairly and evenly and, through this law, alter what I call the "culture of closedness" that permeates government.

I encourage you to look through our website where you will find regularly updated information about the law and a schedule of on-going trainings regarding this new law. I will always welcome your questions, comments and suggestions to improve access to government because I believe that this government does not belong to me, or to any other public official, but rather this government belongs to you.

Terry Mutchler 

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