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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Open Records Officer Questions Callahan Administration

Late last week, I appealed the Callahan administration's refusal to turn over records relating to a three year old motor vehicle accident in which the Mayor's brother-in-law struck and injured a Bethlehem police officer. The City has refused to produce the cell phone records for both Mayor and Police Commissioner on the day of the accident, claiming they only keep invoices. A request for pictures of the accident scene, taken by a police officer's digital camera, was ignored.

I took the appeal because the state's Office of Open Records has ruled, in another case, that the City has "constructive control of its telephone bill and any records related to its account with the telephone company. Therefore, it is required under the RTKL [Right to Know Law] to retrieve a copy of any records that would include the information requested, if any exist, from the telephone company."

Well, the OOR moves fast. On Monday, Appeals Officer Lucinda Glinn told Bethlehem she wants to know whether they ever even bothered contacting the phone company.

"Please clarify what efforts were undertaken to obtain the cell phone records requested from the telephone company and describe the records available as pertain to the numbers assigned to the named individuals on the stated date. Be sure to substantiate all asserted facts regarding the existence and attempts to obtain responsive records. As to the appeal of the allegedly partial incident report, please advise whether any pictures were taken as part of the incident report, and if so, explain why the pictures were not supplied. You may also respond to the grounds for appeal.

"All facts relied upon must be supported by an Affidavit made under penalty of perjury by someone with personal knowledge."


Anonymous said...

Dude -

You're going to make their heads explode!

I can just hear them cussing and damning you in a fury that would make Stiffler proud.

Anonymous said...

There is no way a major phone company in today's security environment would not keep phone records, especially since records
are scanned and digitized.

Anonymous said...

I'm generally against your attacks on behalf of Dent but I have to give it you. I love that you are giving it to the man.

Anonymous said...

If enough info comes out that indicates a criminal abuse of power, could the cops that are unhappy about the cover-up arrest Callahan, or will action have to originate at the DA or AG level?

Anonymous said...

Upon his arrest, Callahan should be shackled and frog-walked. An example must be made of him.

Anonymous said...

Assuming he's guilty. I think you slobs are getting ahead of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I said "IF"

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Upon his arrest, Callahan should be shackled and frog-walked. An example must be made of him."

Actually, that's far more likely to happen to me. I believe city lawyers looked at this from the pint of view that they don't keep the detailed records "in the ordinary course of business." But there is a different standard under the RTKL.