The office will oversee the appeals process for requests that are denied by state and local government agencies and provide training for state and local officials to ensure they understand how to comply with the law.
Thursday, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell announced the appointment of Terry Mutchler, a lawyer and former capitol newsroom correspondent, as executive director of Pennsylvania's new Office of Open Records.
"The Office of Open Records will serve an essential role in helping the public better understand how their government operates," Governor Rendell said. "Terry brings the ideal combination of knowledge and experience to her new role as executive director of the office, and I am very pleased to welcome her back to Pennsylvania."
The Office of Open Records was created on Feb. 14 when Governor Rendell signed Senate Bill 1, a new open records statute that assumes most government records are public. The office, to be housed at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, will oversee the appeals process for requests that are denied by state and local government agencies. It also will provide training for state and local officials to ensure they understand how to comply with the law.
Mutchler was appointed to a six-year term as executive director. Under law, she can serve no more than two terms. He currently serves as the public access counselor and a senior policy advisor to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Mutchler, previously, was a member of the litigation department of the Chicago law firm of Foley & Lardner, where she was a member of the media law group and appellate practice group. She clerked for the Executive Office of the President of the United States during the Clinton administration, focusing on privacy issues; and is a former law clerk for a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois.
Before becoming an attorney, Mutchler was an investigative journalist for The Associated Press, covering politics in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Alaska. She also covered casinos and crime for the AP in New Jersey. She was the first woman appointed AP statehouse bureau chief in Illinois.
Mutchler, who will earn $120,000 in her new post, is a graduate of Penn State University with a B.A. in journalism; she received her J.D. from The John Marshall School of Law.
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