Thursday, December 20, 2012

Northampton County's Right Not to Know Law

In a story about Monday's auction at The King George Inn, The Morning Call reports that "Archie Isadore" was there, looking for a lamp or painting for his Martins Creek home. There is nobody named Archie Isadore living in Martins Creek, but there is somebody named Archie D'Isidore. He happens to be Northampton County's Director of Court Services. Was D'Isidore on vacation? Sick leave? Why was he there and not at work, looking at personal emails and firing employees in the Register of Wills Office?

I decided to file a Right-to-Know request, asking for any and all records that would establish whether Director of Court Services Archie D'Isidore was working on Monday, December 17, 2012, or whether he was on vacation, personal time, sick time or had any other excused absence for all or part of that day. It's a fairly straightforward request. An attendance record for one frickin' day.

I received this rather bizarre reply from Northampton County's Right-to-Know Officer, Jill Mancini:
"Your below request has been forwarded the appropriate departments with the additional notation that since every record that might reflect Mr. Isadore’s attendance status on Monday from any source was requested, that all final records with the supporting documents, should there be any are forwarded.

"Pursuant to Section 902(a) of the Law, we are invoking our right to an additional thirty (30) days pursuant to the following subsections:

(3) timely response to the request for access cannot be accomplished due to bona fide and specified staffing limitations;

(4) legal review is necessary;

(7) the extent or nature of the request precludes a response within the 5 day period.

"Records which reflect the requested information do exist currently but the final formalized records will not be produced for about 2 weeks pursuant to protocol.

"For your information it is my understanding that the responsibilities under the RTK law will be transferred imminently. While the law has imposed substantial burdens on county staff, the benefit of readily accessible information, hence transparency, redounds to us all. It is unfortunate for requestors that we do not have someone assigned exclusively to this task. Other counties, such as Luzerne have created a position for this purpose with successful results. I thought you might be interested to know that this law has spawned about 6,100 appeals to the Office of Open Records and about 350 to the Courts since its adoption at the beginning of 2009.

"It is expected that a response will be produced before the 30 day period has passed but it will be produced at the latest on or before January 19, 2013."
Translated, what Mancini is telling me is she is going to make me wait thirty days for information the County has now, although it might not be reduced to a "record" at this point. She also wants me to know how overworked she is, and makes a pitch for a full-time right-to-know officer.

By my count, Mancini has been overwhelmed by a grand total of ten Right to Know appeals this year. Several resulted from her own failure to even acknowledge the requests within five business days, as required by the law.

Noon Update: Luzerne County's Solicitor, Vito DeLuca, informs me that Luzerne's Right-to-Know Officer is an Administrative Assistant who handles other duties as well. Mancini's assertion is inaccurate, although DeLuca a did say his assistant spends a large portion of her day responding to RTKs.

1:45 PM Update: I have been informed that the "Archie Isadore" at the auction was, in fact, the father of Director of Court Services Archie D'Isidore. I am pointing that out to be fair to him, although the point of this post is the odd reply by Mancini. I would be unable to share that with you unless I alaso pointed out why I had filed the RTK request.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are being an asshole and she is seeing you and raisng you. Pull up you big girl panites and deal with it.

You make a mockery out of the institutions of governemnt.

Anonymous said...

Anon coward.

Anonymous said...

Anon coward.

Anonymous said...

Anon coward at 2:06 calling anon coward at 1:52, a coward.

Just another day on the O'Hare coward blog.

Anonymous said...

If he was "out sick" and went to the auction, this will be the perfect ending to those two ladies that got fired. Between him and Onembo, I feel really bad for all the employees at the Court House.

Anonymous said...

And if Archie had any character, after reading this, he should contact you and provide the information that you are asking for.

Anonymous said...

@1:52 & 2:06
Anon cowards!

Anonymous said...

@2:11
Anon coward.

Anonymous said...

Bernie is hgaving one Hell of a conversation with himself.

Anonymous said...

mancini may be too busy with her sessions with kl to process your request

Anonymous said...

Anyway, How did he get to the auction? By taxi?

Anonymous said...

This request may be a reach. Most do not have to file reasons for a day off until the end of a pay period. That would justify a delay in getting you the information. Particularly, if the individual is management, noting the reason for an absence may take even longer. There may have been a legitimate reason for not being at work, but the system may take longer to show it.

Anonymous said...

She certainly uses a lot if words to say almost nothing. I'm stunned that she complains about being over worked and then takes a shot at her employer all in one letter. She is horribly unprofessional but gets away with it cause she was sleeping with the boss. You should request whether or not she has ever had a performance evaluation. (Obviously the contents would be protected). I'll bet she hasn't in about 5 years.

Anonymous said...

It is unprofessional for JM to whine about her role as RTK officer in response to a public request. It is common knowledge that she feels she is overworked and should no longer have this assignment. But to articulate that in response to an RTK request is highly inappropriate. Next thing, she will advise requestors that she could respond more quickly if she had only received the promotion she and her boss groveled for.

Anonymous said...

I think we all have the right to know where Mr. Disodore is most days. Ask anyone under him and he is often never in the office. He did his dirty job, harassing single mother's and getting them fired now from what I hear the Deputy of Wills is leaving to take a lower position and the Register of Wills is falling farther behind. Will the madness ever end and when will someone say enough is enough and really take a look at Archie Disodore.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, You lost out on this one. AD just has to file his time report at the end of the two week pay period. He still has time to "adjust" his schedule. You produced your cards too soon. You should have asked for a RTK after the pay period, to see if he correctly put anything down. You are lousy at poker!

Anonymous said...

Didn't the auction start at 3 PM? Couldn't Archie have been there after work? Is this just another witch hunt of someone you hate? You could have just asked Archie directly before trying to crucify him.

Anonymous said...

We all know how much you despise this guy, but even you would admit that he is not stupid. If he was there during work hours why would he go out of his way to be interviewed by Matt Assad? You have earned your "bottom-feeding blogger" title on this story, BO!

Anonymous said...

Many smaller agencys have a part-time staff and many of those part-time employees also respond to RTKL requests. Mz Mancini should resign from her position as RTKL Officer. Her response was weak, unprofessional and ridiculous. The RTKL was excellent in theory but might need to be tweeked in certain areas a bit. But until then, in a response you stay the course, meet your deadlines, and return letters that stay on topic, utilize sections of the law, or even quote RTK case law to back up your agency's position. Produce the document if it exists and is public... suck it up, we are all overworked in this area.

Small Agency RTKL Team member

Anonymous said...

You really stepped into it this time O'Hare. Archie's dad, with the same name is an antique collector, lives in Martin's Creek and was at the auction. This is not just a case of mistaken identity it is very sloppy journalism on your part. But then again you have never claimed to be a journalist. You owe Archie a public apology for this wild goose chase.

Anonymous said...

I work at the Court House and if I knew I wouldn't lose my job or be harrassed I would verify that Archie and Jill both violate their hours of work obligations to the County. Assuming you are wrong Bernie, (MAybe Archie's dad is a antique dealer) that doesn't change anything you wrote in your story. You simply asked for RTK information and had it been provided you simply ignore the story. For Jill to openly defy a request only fueled the fire. Others like me who work at the Court House saw the article and were wondering the same thing. No apology is needed. Had the information been given to you, the story wouldn't have been run. That simple. P.S. Jill Mancinni is seen coming into the Court House as late as 11:00 A.M. most days and she doesn't stay till 7:00 P.M. You're exposing them for what they are. Overpaid...

Anonymous said...

Obviously the county does not block access to your blog, perhaps they should and maybe it would be more productive.

How many county workers are reading looking for their names to appear here?

Do you have any sort of analytics programs that could show the domain name of blog visitors?

Bernie O'Hare said...

". Most do not have to file reasons for a day off until the end of a pay period. That would justify a delay in getting you the information. "

Absolutely, and that's all she would have to say. No need to tell me about Luzerne County.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"It is unprofessional for JM to whine about her role as RTK officer in response to a public request. It is common knowledge that she feels she is overworked and should no longer have this assignment. But to articulate that in response to an RTK request is highly inappropriate. Next thing, she will advise requestors that she could respond more quickly if she had only received the promotion she and her boss groveled for."

Bingo. I was astonished.

Bernie O'Hare said...

", You lost out on this one. AD just has to file his time report at the end of the two week pay period."

You are correct, and I could see that as being a basis for a "denial." Frankly, I expected there to be a benign explanation, and figured this would be responded to by a quick denial, followed by a mention that Archie was there that day or had off for whatever reason.

I am lousy at poker.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You could have just asked Archie directly before trying to crucify him."

This post is not really about D'Idsidore. It's about the Rght to Know, and Mancini's reaction to a simple request. And no, I do not just ask the guy bc I want to see the record.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" If he was there during work hours why would he go out of his way to be interviewed by Matt Assad?"

Don't really know that he went out of his way. But as I said, this blog is not really about Archie. It explains why I filed a RTK request. This blog is about the answer, or nonanswer, received.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Archie's dad, with the same name is an antique collector, lives in Martin's Creek and was at the auction"

That may very well be. I was making no accusation. I was explaining the reason for my RTK request.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Obviously the county does not block access to your blog, perhaps they should and maybe it would be more productive."

Actually, it does in numerous departments. There is no Internet access at all in some offices, like Deeds and Civil. in others, blogs are filtered out and any other kind of social site. Very few offices have full access.

"How many county workers are reading looking for their names to appear here?"

Not many.

"Do you have any sort of analytics programs that could show the domain name of blog visitors?"

Yes, I do. But I have to make a concerted effort to track it down on weekdays bc of the volume of traffic. I don't do I unless someone gets really hateful and starts making death wishes and threats.

Anonymous said...




He was initially sick, and later felt better.

He needed to get some fresh air. All is well.....no problems!

Alan Earnshaw said...

Even if the county blocks certain sites, all you need is a smartphone for unfiltered access to the Internet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

True, but not many county employees can afford them.

Anonymous said...

9:07 AM
Anon coward, right BOH?

Anonymous said...

You smell of old socks and a homeless womans spatch

Anonymous said...

Why not look inot the work records of other Stoffa men. There are a few Stoffa top people who are rarely seen anywhere but stores and resturants.

Unless you have a grudge against this guy. We all know Angle hated him. you carrying the hate bucket for Angle?

Bernie O'Hare said...

And what other Stoffa men would that be?

My disdain for D'Ididore has nothing to do with Angle. I actually defended the guy. It grows out of four things: (1) The poor judgment in selection of a Register of Wills; (2) the creepy email investigation and firing of two single mothers: (3) cost overruns at the archives building about which he misled Council intentionally or note; and (4) a behavior noticed by many at the courthouse and that I will be writing about as soon as I complete my research.

Anonymous said...

How can someone like you judge other people’s ethics? You, looser whom we all know ended up being a nobody because of lack of ethic. You allege to know the truth about every single person in that County, but can’t manage your own truth. I’ll help you with that:
You enjoy harassing others, always attempting to bring good people down to your level, so they can feel the anger you have been feeling since you became a powerless human being. I bet you go to bed feeling ill and waking up tired with all the hateful thoughts you must have. Just a suggestion, go to a therapist, they will help you with your low self-esteem issues, and in that way you and the rest can enjoy life as it.
One day you’ll die, I’m thinking very soon with all the self-destruction you’re imposing to yourself; and it will be too late to regret all the time you wasted planting other people’s garden instead of your own.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe we all have a right to expect a county lawyer to act professionally. Mancini's reply, in which she complains about being overworked and the requirements of the RTK Law, is unprofessional. Longenbach wanted her given a raise, and made three pitches to Council about that in one meeting. Council made the right choice in saying No, as proved by this reply. And people have a right to know about the behavior of public servants who work for them. If this bothers you, too bad.

Anonymous said...

Bernie methodiclly molded a vagina out of boogers and crammed it with his piece.

Anonymous said...

All of the problmes you have chronicled could not have happend and continue to happen if not with the consent of Mr. Stoffa.

At the end of the day no one, but no one in his Administration is allowed to make a move without his OK.

Anonymous said...

I am a public employee and I have every right to leave during the day. It's called being a salaried employee and being an exempt employee. There is no requirement for me to work any particular set hours. If I work 50 hours one week, I may work 30 hours another. If you actually ever held a salaried position in your lifetime, you'd realize how asinine you and your request sound.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That attitude and sense of entitlement convinces me that more of these types of requests will have to be filed. No, working 50 hours one week does not mean you only work 30 the next. Try again.

Anonymous said...


This post is not really about D'Idsidore. It's about the Rght to Know, and Mancini's reaction to a simple request. And no, I do not just ask the guy bc I want to see the record.


Is it necessary to waste taxpayer money by filing these trivial requests? I thought you were a tea partier.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Blog Mentor, I know who you are.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"All of the problmes you have chronicled could not have happend and continue to happen if not with the consent of Mr. Stoffa."

So let me get this right. Stoffa must have OKed two of his top employees carousing with the very people who were suing him and demanding his ouster, which is exactly what Longenbach and Mancini did.

Obviously, you're nuts.

Anonymous said...

That attitude and sense of entitlement convinces me that more of these types of requests will have to be filed. No, working 50 hours one week does not mean you only work 30 the next. Try again.

You are correct. It is not a tradeoff. If I work 30 hours one week, I don't have to work 50 the next. As long as the job is done there is no requirement to be in the office during any set hours. In fact, many more people are simply working from home. Your head would really explode then. You seem to be living in the 1970's before technology happened.