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.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.
"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."
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.