Several employees of the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office have alleged Tony Guy has been a largely hands-off sheriff who spends far less time at work than other elected row officials in the courthouse. Those employees claim Guy has instead abdicated most of his responsibilities to Chief Deputy Dean Michael.
As part of its efforts to verify or refute those claims, BeaverCountian.com submitted an open records request to the county for his courthouse door access logs. But that request has now been denied, although requests for the same records from other county officials were released.
In response to an open records request filed by BeaverCountian.com earlier this year, the county released courthouse access logs for Deputy Controller William Calhoon. Calhoon said he was not notified before the county released his records.
The county then approved a second request on Feb. 14 seeking access logs for Commissioners Dan Camp, Sandie Egley, and Tony Amadio. But on the same day it granted that request, it issued a refusal to provide records for Guy. It also refused to provide records for Michael and Captain Jay Alstadt.
The county alleges that Guy’s personal security could be put at risk if the public gained any insight to his time in the courthouse. The county’s denial letter was drafted after the law department met with Guy and his solicitor. Officials told BeaverCountian.com that Guy agreed with having the records withheld.
The letter states the release of Guy’s records are specifically exempt from disclosure because they are kept in connection with law enforcement and “would be reasonably likely to jeopardize a public protection activity in that it discloses a pattern of scheduling.” The denial further cited an exception that a release of the records to the public would “be reasonably likely to result in a substantial and demonstrable risk of physical harm to or the personal security of an individual.”
Wayne Kress, a retired state police trooper who has announced his Democratic candidacy for sheriff, said he believes the denial is “ridiculous.”
“Why is everything a big secret with him? It’s because he has a lot of secrets to keep,” alleged Kress.
Kress said he believes Guy is abusing exceptions in the state’s Right-to-Know law to prevent the release of public records for reasons that have nothing to do with security.
“Everybody knows the majority of deputies work Monday through Friday during daylight hours, including Guy. Well, that’s when he’s supposed to be at work anyway. He is administrative personnel, he’s not patrolling the halls or securing the doors or anything like that. The public is no way put at risk by disclosing how much he works … This isn’t law enforcement scheduling information that could tell you how many people are on duty securing the courthouse at some point in the future, it’s a completely different animal … Releasing those logs might put his career as sheriff in jeopardy but it won’t jeopardize anybody’s safety.”
Kress said he would approve the release of his own courthouse door access logs if elected sheriff.
“Guy ran on transparency but he definitely hasn’t been transparent.”
Sheriff Tony Guy does not provide comment to BeaverCountian.com and has repeatedly attempted to convince other officials to cease communications with this publication as well.