Friday, August 7, 2009

Kathleen Parrish Responds

Lehigh County's "Right To Know" Officer Kathleen Parrish got back to me recently on our excellent question regarding Debbie Garlicki's new job in DA Jim Martin's office.  

Here's what Kathleen had to say ... 

Aug. 3, 2009 

Dear Mr. Villa: 

Receipt is acknowledged of your letter dated July 20, 2009 and received on July 29, 2009. This is not a request for a record - it is a question. 

The Right-To-Know Law requires that requests be for existing records and does not require a public agency to provide just information. 65 P.S. sec. 67.705. Also, a request "should identify or describe the records sought with sufficient specificity to enable the agency to ascertain which records are being requested." 65 P.S. sec. 67.703. 

Bill Villa interjects: Readers, Kathleen Parrish could have stopped right there and sent me on my way and she would have been in total compliance w/ Right-To-Know. But Kathleen went farther and volunteered this additional information and I sincerely appreciate that, thank you Kathleen, please continue ...

That having been said, the District Attorney requested another Executive Aide position during the budget process in July 2008. It was approved by the administration and included in the budget submitted to the Commissioners in August 2008. The budget was passed in October 2008. The Executive Aide position was funded as of Jan. 1, 2009 and filled in February 2009.

In accordance with the state's Right-To-Know Law, you have the right to appeal this determination to the state Office of Open Records. The appeal must be made within 15 days of receiving this letter. You can submit an appeal using the appeals form found on http://openrecords.state.pa.us. 

Thank you, 
Kathleen Parrish
Right-To-Know Officer
Lehigh County 

Readers, surely there's no need to appeal Kathleen Parrish's gracious response. Thank you again, Kathleen. 

However, we do have another excellent question. 

But first, let's re-cap what we now know ... 

* Debbie Garlicki lost her longtime job as a Morning Call "newspaper" courthouse beat reporter in the first wave of layoffs there on July 25, 2008, "Black Friday." 

* "the District Attorney requested another Executive Aide position during the budget process in July 2008" (i.e., the exact same month, July 2008, when Debbie Garlicki knew that her possible job termination was looming, coincidentally)

* In the additional information she volunteered, Kathleen Parrish did indeed answer our first excellent question regarding whether Debbie Garlicki's position in DA Jim Martin's office existed prior to Garlicki's permanent layoff from The Morning Call "newspaper." It didn't, although at least one other similar position may have existed-- Parrish said that Martin requested "another" Executive Aide position in July 2008. Another position specifically for Debbie Garlicki, possibly? 

And this brings us to our next excellent question that I have emailed Kathleen Parrish today and it goes like this: 

Hi Kathleen, please send me all records (document copies are fine) that depict the advertisements used to announce the open position of Executive Aide in DA Jim Martin's office that was filled by Debbie Garlicki in February 2009. This would include any/all newspaper classified or display ads, postings on the Lehigh County web site, email announcements of the job opening, flyers that may have been hung in-house at the DA's office or Courthouse, etc. Also, please send me all records that indicate how many people applied for the position that was ultimately awarded to Debbie Garlicki in Feb. '09. 

Thank you again for your consideration, Kathleen.  

Have a nice weekend. 

Best Regards, 

Bill Villa