The C3 Group, a Scranton area-based company, is the cost control consultant that Northampton County Executive John Brown hired to come up with a new health care plan that digs deep into the pockets of county workers. Its employees sat in in several meetings with employees to discuss these reductions.. In response to questions at one meeting, C3 employee Colin Healey told a worker, "Nobody subpoenaed you to work here."
On October 9, I filed a RTK request with the County seeking the following:
1) All Contracts between Northampton County and C3 Group, LLC, from the time Executive John Brown was installed to the present.RTK Officer, Daniel O'Donnell, Esq., invoked an automatic 30-day extension until November 15. He then responded timely, on November 14. He supplied the three contracts about which I've already written. But he refuses to produce a single email.
2) All email correspondence between C3Group, LLC, representatives and andy [sic] employees of Northampton County during 2014.
He raises seven different exemptions outlined in Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law. He claims disclosure will reveal medical histories; labor relations and negotiations; drafts of policies; internal, predecisional deliberations; insurance proposals; notes prepared by county employees for personal use; and risk management related documents.
That's bullshit. There is simply no way that all emails are privileged, nor do I believe most of these exemptions are applicable. They are simply speed blocks thrown up by an administration that lacks transparency.
This denial will be appealed. I will demanding in camera review, which means the County is going to have to produce all emails for inspection by the Office of Open Records.
The one exemption I find particularly insulting is the claim that these emails are part of labor negotiations. Negotiations require more than one person. Brown's problem all along has been his refusal to negotiate. he just waved his sceptre and imposed draconian health plan reductions unilaterally.
Also, it's amazing that he could call these internal predecisional deliberations. The C3 Group is not part of the County government. The company is an external company, as are all the other consultants he's hired.