Philadelphia Threatens Public Access to Some Records

An unpublicized decision this year by City Solicitor Shelley R. Smith threatens to shut off public access to the detailed explanations for millions of dollars in city legal settlements - records considered public for the last 30 years at least.
June 25, 2013
 

Throughout his 2007 campaign and five-plus years as mayor, Michael Nutter has promoted the virtues of government transparency and open records.

At a U.S. Conference of Mayors event in Philadelphia last month, described as an "innovation summit," Nutter patted himself on the back for releasing 47 data sets covering everything from crime to property values.

But in the last year, the administration has created new procedural and legal hurdles, with attendant delays, for people seeking access to city records.

An unpublicized decision this year by City Solicitor Shelley R. Smith threatens to shut off public access to the detailed explanations for millions of dollars in city legal settlements - records considered public for the last 30 years at least.

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