The Governor’s Office has denied an open records request by the Beaver Countian for information about individuals who are seeking appointments to open judicial seats in Beaver County.

Governor Tom Wolf issued an announcement earlier this year that he was seeking individuals interested in being appointed to fill several judicial vacancies throughout the state, including two positions in Beaver County. The county currently has an open seat for Magisterial District Judge in Ambridge due to the resignation of Andrew Hladio last November, and a position for Common Pleas Judge that became vacant after Deborah Kunselman began serving on the Superior Court in January.

The Beaver Countian submitted a Right-to-Know request to the Governor’s Office on February 17th, seeking copies of “completed questionnaires submitted by individuals currently seeking appointment to Common Pleas Judge or Magisterial District Judge in Beaver County,” and, “any document listing all individuals who are currently seeking appointment.”

The General Counsel’s Office had published a questionnaire on its website for individuals to complete who were seeking judicial appointments. The questionnaire was divided into two sections, one marked “Public” and one marked “Confidential except as may otherwise be required by law.” The “Public” section included general questions such as name, educational background, and basic employment history. The “Confidential” section included questions about taxes and criminal history.

The General Counsel’s Office initially responded to the Beaver Countian’s request on February 27th, invoking a 30-day extension due to the “extent of [the] request.” The final response was received yesterday, denying the request in its entirety by claiming a list of exemptions delineated in the state’s Right-to-Know Law.

“Initially, your request is denied because records of non-criminal investigations are exempt from access under the Right-to-Know Law,” wrote Open Records Officer Marc Eisenstein. “Further, portions of the requested records are protected by attorney-client or attorney work-product privileges.”

Eisenstein wrote that other records in the agency’s possession were being withheld from release because they would “reveal the internal, predecisional deliberations of an agency, its officials or employees.”

The Beaver Countian is currently weighing a possible appeal.

It is unclear when Governor Wolf may appoint individuals to fill the judicial vacancies, which then have to be approved by the Pennsylvania State Senate.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

29 COMMENTS

  1. A brief Googling of Marc Eisenstein, the Governor’s Open Records Officer, reveals that he does this with others. Stonewalling? For example:

    “Your request is denied because records of non-criminal investigations are exempt from access,” Marc Eisenstein, the governor’s open records officer, wrote in a denial letter Wednesday. “Similarly, the requested records may be protected by the attorney-client or attorney work-product privileges.”

    That was sent to Paul Muschick, Contact Reporter for “The Morning Call,” 3/30/2018. And, similar answers seem to be typical to people who want to know what is up through the Governor’s office. Good luck. Maybe Right-to-Know has become Pay-to-Know or Know-to-Know.

    http://www.mcall.com/opinion/muschick/mc-opi-pa-inspector-general-reports-public-records-muschick-20171221-story.html

    Stonewall Lozier would be envious of Marc’s work.

     
  2. This is absurd! I am sure it will be reversed and released as it should of been on the 1st attempt. So lets hide who the candidates are so the public can not make a researched decision of how they cast their vote.. and this is coming from a Governor Lol.

     
  3. Some guessing:

    In my opinion,

    Why block or sit on a Right-to-Know request?

    The potential judge candidates are (from a former BC article): “…former Chief County Solicitor and “Friendship Ridge” attorney Joseph Askar, Albert Torrence (currently serving as Chief Trial Counsel for the District Attorney’s Office and Solicitor to the County Controller), Laura Tocci (with the law firm of McMillen, Urick, Tocci, & Jones), and Bill Braslawsce (who campaigned for judge in last year’s elections).” Maybe there are others now.

    But,

    “Attorney Joe Askar held a fundraiser for Governor Wolf at “Friendship Ridge” last May, co-hosted by Commissioner Tony Amadio…”

    Or, Marc Eisenstein doesn’t like his job? Or, Marc is lazy? Or, Marc is providing political cover? Or, Marc is just doing Wolf’s requests? Who knows? The Shadow?

    Or, maybe I’m just a conspiracy theorist in disguise.

     
  4. Isn’t the whole point of a “right to know” request is to get access to public information? Seems like every public office try their best to withhold information to encourage the person to give up. School boards are the worst violators.

     
  5. There is a pending ethics complaint filed by Commissioner Egley on Joe Askar. In a previous article I read it was a conflict of interest complaint which Egley asked Camp & Amadio to join her in filing.
    They both declined. Then they removed her as Chairwoman as Camp stated.. “she’s toxic and combative”.

    The appointment will speak volumes about corruption and how high this goes. Given this refusal to the right to know..it goes pretty high.

     
  6. Wolf isnt doing anything to stop the information
    the inbreds are mad cause he is stopping republicans from gerrymandering the state like they have been doing for years
    so everything he does is wrong even tho it is to help the state is met with opposition
    its the republican lawmakers in PA that stop every good deed he tries to do
    but republicans are so fuckin butthurt that a black man was president they will do anything they can to hurt democratcs even tho it hurts them too
    ps. WOLF didnt raise taxes assclowns its not in his power to do so
    so quit watching fox news and learn the truth the REAL truth not Trumps made up truth which all happen to be lies

     
  7. More interesting will be whether or not Senator Elder Vogel will vote for an appointment of Gov Wolfe that is a known political Skunk. Such as the now famous Frank M who is trying to grab the Ambridge Magisterial Judge appointment. Or will Vogel grow some balls and lead the charge of his fellow Republican Senators in saying NO to dipshit appointments ??? The Republicans have a 2/3 majority in the Senate and could easily reject a bad appointment. At they same time they send Wolfe and voters a message by jamming such a loss up the Wolfe administration’s ass.

     
  8. IF the guessing of hypotheticals is true here, and IF there are connections between local and state officials, and/or their followers, that is very, very serious. It adds a dimension to the corruption that is not immediately apparent, and it does partially suggest why some of these local perps are so persistently successful behind the scenes. The link is only inferential, and it would have to stand up to fact checking to become an article here. But, I am very uneasy about that possibly being the case. That might even justify considering it a RICO state of affairs, similar to some of the activities of the 80s and 90s. I hope not. Maybe Sandie Egley, in her now interrupted corruption studies, will eventually shed some light on it, if that is part of her interest or purview.

     
    • Certainly you’re not surprised that there are so many of them in Beaver County. You will get no intelligent discourse from them, only name calling and what abouts because there is no intelligent reason to support a blowhard, self-serving, racist, disgusting moral and low character thing who is so busy fleecing America, the orange cult can’t see it. They can’t see that he is enriching himself and his cronies and care nothing for anyone else. They come back with ignorant memes and moronic words.

       
  9. and pay close attention this is not a “fake’ picture like the one you posted he actually did this to a handicapped reporter try to rationalize that you snotgoblin inbred piece of shit

     
  10. “Make America Great Again”

    Perhaps the most idiotic slogan ever perpetrated upon an ignorant populace by a lying, self-serving demagogue who is stuck in childish thinking and fantasies and speaks incoherent gibberish spouted as though it actually means something. More than two thousand lies to date and counting. Women debased, fickle loyalties, filthy immorality and failure to respect even his own family.

    Yeh, he’s a real peach of a guy.

    America has ALWAYS been great, and conning the American people into believing otherwise is unforgivable propagandizing. Now it is time to blame the fools who put him in and hope that they will suffer personally with his actions.

    It’s not about politics, you blowhard assholes. It’s about the abdication of human reasoning, responsibility and decency, and it is YOUR fault.

    MAGA — what bullshit. Contrived bullshit from an inveterate bullshitter.

    This, on a day when Christians honor a selfless man who died for their sins. And instead, some praise an unapologetic flawed human being who lives by sinning.

    Fools.

     
      • I don’t give a shit about the Clintons, Obama or anyone else. As I said, it is not about politics.

         
    • Raven ..idiots like maga, laura ingraham, ted not so newgent, most trump voters and the list goes on and on. They don’t listen to opinion or a rebuttal to theirs. “This, on a day when Christians honor a selfless man who died for their sins.” Do you think anyone is now on their knees with a quick mea culpa. Come on, maga threw out the lure and you swallowed.

       
  11. Sounds like the denial was provided to you according to the Section 903 of Right to Know. The issue, in my mind, is the definition of Confidential Proprietary Information which largely focuses on commercial or financial information although the definition of “commercial” is not defined. It is understood to mean “business” dealings. I understand your frustration and they could have redacted the “confidential” information but it’s a bit of a game. If you generated a FOIA request at the federal level, NOTHING goes out unless an attorney vets it. Good luck with your decision. As you know, you have 15 days from the denial to launch an appeal.

     
  12. Looks like Joe Asslicker will have a new position, seems like him and Wolf are best buds, we need to sweep the courthouse of all these waste of sperms. get some real people in there that want to work and don’t have any family covering for them

     
  13. If ” The Investigation ” ever pays off, I think Askar, McBride, and hopefully Mancini will be names in the news.

     
  14. friendly reminder :
    jesus had brown skin
    he hailed from the middle east
    and he was also a socialist
    back then that was as close to democrat as you can get

     

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