Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday recalled all pending executive nominations put forth prior to him being sworn-in as governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Gov. Wolf also removed Erik Arneson from his position as executive director of the Office of Open Records, effective immediately. Governor Wolf named Nathan Byerly acting executive director of the Office of Open Records and will conduct a national search to fill the position.
Gov. Wolf released the following statement regarding his actions:
“My top priority as governor of Pennsylvania is to restore public trust in government. I believe that elected leaders should be stewards of democracy and that we should be open, transparent, and accountable to the people of Pennsylvania.
“Prior to being sworn-in as governor, my predecessor put forth several eleventh hour executive nominations, and he named a new executive director of the Office of Open Records. These moves were murky and the process was anything but open and transparent.
“We must work to make sure every Pennsylvanian has good reason to trust the government that serves them, and these are the types of actions that make people legitimately distrust their government.
“I will work with leaders from both parties to fill outstanding slots, and my administration will conduct a national search to find an executive director of the Office of Open Records. Until that search is complete, Nathan Byerly will serve as acting executive director. Nathan knows the office inside and out, and will carry out the mission of the office seamlessly to ensure the public’s right to know is protected.”
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) issued the following statement following Gov. Wolf’s recall of nominees and attempted removal of the Director of the Office of Open Records:
“Just seven days ago, Gov. Wolf said: ‘My experience is Senators look at the qualifications, not the ideology,’ he said. ‘I think they’ll look at the overall picture and say, ‘Are these people competent and qualified?’…’
“With today’s blanket recall and attempted removal of Erik Arneson as Director of the Office of Open Records, Gov. Wolf shows he firmly places ideology above qualifications.
“The Senate will perform our due diligence on all cabinet and other nominees – regardless of who submitted their name for consideration.“The confirmation process includes submitting ethics forms, other paperwork and hearings that allow the Senate to do a thorough review of a nominee’s experience before voting. We are being sensible by providing each candidate with the opportunity to have their qualifications be fully examined before making any decisions.”