State orders Concord to produce records

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has ruled in favor of a Concord Township resident who was denied certain documents requested in an official Right-to-Know filing.

Under the Right-to-Know Law, resident Kevin O’Neill asked for all records, notes of meetings, phone calls or correspondence among an attorney, Concord Township officials and employees.

The request was in response to attorney J. Michael Sheridan’s filing of briefs on behalf of township Supervisors Dominic Pileggi and Kevin O’Donoghue with the state Supreme Court. Township solicitor Hugh Donaghue had engaged Sheridan to write the briefs at the request of supervisors.

(The court was hearing an appeal of two lower court decisions that denied a petition by Concord First to have a question put on the November 2014 ballot. The question would have asked residents if they wanted Concord to reclassify as a township of the first class. As reported here, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Concord First, reversing the lower court decisions, and remanded the case to Delaware County’s Court of Common Pleas.)

O’Neill’s request to the township, according to the Open Records office, was partially denied because the township claimed it did not possess records held by Donaghue. O’Neill then appealed to the OOR, which determined those records should be released.

According to the determination: “The Township has not demonstrated that it provided all responsive records. While certain records have been provided, neither the Township nor Solicitor Donaghue allege that all responsive records have been provided to [O'Neill]. Although the Township argued, in its response, that it does not possess records held by Solicitor Donaghue, the RTK[Law] requires access to records within an agency’s ‘possession, custody or control…Here, there can be no dispute that the Township’s records in Solicitor Donaghue’s possession are within the Township’s control.”

The determination of the OOR, issued on July 9, said the township is required to provide the records within 30 days or appeal the determination to the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.

The full determination can be found here.

Neither O’Neill nor Donaghue were available for further comment.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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One Response to “State orders Concord to produce records”

  1. Anne M says:

    This is about the court case that was taken to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that found the Township Supervisors were WRONG in denying the Township the opportunity to vote on “First Class” form of government that would be representative of EVERYONE’s Interests, instead of the mess we have now with 5 people who have made TERRIBLE decisions for our township and property values…. then set up a sham Government Study Commission with bogus remit to delay democracy for the almost 1000 people who signed petitions to put it to a vote.

    You know– the Supervisors who gave us traffic gridlock and empty stores along 202 because it take 25 minutes to go the 5 miles through Concord Township– and features an electronic billboard to sell you stuff while you sit in traffic. Notice they didn’t put it up in the area where they all live!

    VOTE FOR FIRST CLASS TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT– elect people who will work to protect your property value and quality of life in Concord Township.

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