"They'll be public after one of (the applicants) is accepted," said O'Connor spokesman Dick Skrinjar.
I've heard that O'Connor is one of the dumbest people in Pittsburgh, and it seems like he surrounded himself with equally stupid staff members.
Not to get all legal on y'all, but I'm not sure whether these private impact studies become a "public record" under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law ("Law") simply because the city government now possesses them.
Under the Law, a public record is defined as "any account, voucher or contract dealing with the receipt or disbursement of funds by an agency or its acquisition, use or disposal of services or of supplies, materials, equipment or property." The term also includes "any minute, order or decision by an agency fixing the personal or property rights, privileges, immunities, duties or obligations of any person or group of persons," or any documents "closely connected" to any of the above.
Here, the impact studies were performed by private entities, not public ones, and such studies would not be deemed a minute, order or decision. Without qualifying as a "public record" in the first place, the Law will not apply.
That all being said, public pressure, especially by the local newspaper and media organizations, is the best way to obtain access. The outrageous and illogical stance being held by O'Connor -- no access until AFTER a decision is made -- needs to be called out to ensure that this information is out there for public consumption.
If I had the time, I'd look into another issue related hereto -- whether the failure to provide these impact studies before allowing public comments is somehow a violation of Pennsylvania's Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). It just seems ridiculous to have a public comment hearing on an issue when that issue is not fully disclosed; it makes the hearing nothing more than a meaningless charade, and I would hope that the APA prevents such a result.