“PA Right-to-Know Law will be a priority in the coming year,” local Attorney says.
HARRISBURG, PA – Attorney J. Stephen Feinour has been appointed Solicitor for the Borough of Paxtang, effective as of Jan. 7, 2008, according to John Ninosky, Council President. “Mr. Feinour brings a level of legal experience and expertise the Borough will need to address community issues in the coming year,” Mr. Ninosky said today.
Feinour, a municipal lawyer with the Harrisburg firm of Nauman Smith Shissler & Hall, LLP, noted that changes to the new PA Right-to-Know Law, signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell in early February, will be one focus for Boroughs across the state in the coming year. “Changes in the law will soon impact local governments,” Feinour advised. “But it will take time for policy and procedures to be put into place.”
Feinour, who also serves as the Solicitor for Camp Hill Borough, said that he will monitor developments at the new Office of Open Records, in Harrisburg, to prepare clients for compliance issues with the new law.
“It’s important to establish a good working relationship with the Office of Open Records early on,” he said. “There will no doubt be issues arising out of the law that might become contentious and we’ll be looking for clear guidance, as well as establishing procedures for local officials to input into that process.”
Feinour said the new law excludes up to 30 types of records from public disclosure, including information that would likely result in physical harm, or jeopardize someone’s security.
“Records that would jeopardize computer security, or Social Security numbers, personal financial information, phone numbers, personal e-mail addresses, spouses’ names, marital status and beneficiary or dependent information are exempted by the law,” Feinour said. “So policy and procedures will have to be put in place at every government level to insure privacy while opening public access,” he added.
“There will be changes, and each government agency will have to work through what those changes mean to the public at the local level.”
Feinour noted that his law firm was developing a seminar now on the subject to assist public administrators and others in working through the open records process.
“Our attorneys have been instrumental in helping develop the new law,” he said. “So we will use that experience to assure our clients and government officials are properly advised on compliance with the law moving forward.”
Paxtang Borough has a population of approximately 1,600 citizens and dates back to the 17th century Susquehannock Indian village of “Peshtank”, which means “still waters”. Paxtang Borough was founded on July 3rd, 1914 and is known for its rich sampling of American domestic architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For more information visit the Paxtang Borourgh website at www.paxtang.com.
Founded in 1871, Nauman Smith is the oldest law firm in continuous existence in Harrisburg. For information visit the Nauman Smith website at www.nssh.com.