John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Open Records Requests Processed by Newtown Township in 2019

Open Records Requests Processed by Newtown Township in 2019

The Pennsylvania Right to Know (RTK) Law Definition, also known as the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law, is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to Open Records Officer Micah Lewis, aka, Township Manager, I was able to analyze the open records requests processed by Newtown Township in 2019.

NOTE: These data do NOT include open record requests submitted to the Newtown Police Department. More on that here.

In 2019, Newtown Township processed 83 Open Records Requests in compliance with the State’s Sunshine Law. That compares to 92 requests in 2018 (see here).

A total of 32 requests (39%) were from businesses/unions/Nonprofits.

The nonprofit organization Open The Books, which describes itself as a transparency group devoted to posting online all the disclosed spending of every level of government across the United States, made two requests for employee salary records, which were provided by the Township.

There were 44 requests from individuals (53% of the total). There was 1 request for records from the media (i.e., Bucks County Courier Times) for "Review files for Provco Wawa (ZHB/Sketch Plan)" and 6 requests from law firms (7% of the total). 

Requests That Were Denied

Only 11 requests (13% of the total) were "denied"; 7 because no records exist that comply with the request. There was no reason in the records for why the other 4 requests were denied, but one was for "All building permits since 1980," which is seems excessive. Two involved Wawa; one for the proposed "Amendment to the OR Ordinance sent to the BCPC" (Bucks County Planning Commission) and the other for a "Copy of Zoning Variance Application for Wawa," both of which are "drafts of a bill, resolution, regulation, statement of policy, management directive, ordinance or amendment thereto prepared by or for an agency" and therefore NOT public documents.

The fourth request that was "denied" for unspecified reasons was for "Information re:Agt w jointure participants." This was a request for the agreement between Newtown, Wrightstown and Upper Makefield that governs the JMZO. The requester notified me that although this request was initially denied becuase the information could not be found, but was subsequently found and sent to the requester.

Citizen's Guide to PA's Right-to-Know Law

Posted on 06 Jan 2020, 14:08 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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