Township Wins Appeal on RTKL Request for Harassment Investigation Records
In Geleff v. Exeter Twp., OOR Dkt. AP 2022-2244, Exeter Township in Berks County won a Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) appeal before the Office of Open Records (OOR) that sought a report from an investigation into a complaint of unlawful harassment by a township supervisor. Under the RTKL, an exemption for records related to a noncriminal investigation only applies to agencies acting within “their legislatively granted fact-finding and investigative powers.” Exeter, relying on Section 607 of the Second Class Township Code, argued that it was required to “perform duties and exercise powers as may be imposed or conferred by law,” including obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to prevent, investigate, and take immediate corrective action with respect to allegations of unlawful harassment. The OOR agreed that the township was acting within its statutory powers under the Code and denied the appeal.