The attorneys representing Governor McCrory and his administration have done everything in their power to keep communications officials from providing testimony in an ongoing public records lawsuit and last week, the North Carolina Court of Appeals threw them a bone.
By granting McCrory’s counsel both a temporary stay and a stay pending appeal, the Court of Appeals’ decision effectively puts everything at the trial court level on hold, “including the elusive public information officers’ depositions while the appeal is pending,” wrote Mike Tadych, the attorney for a coalition of media outlets (including the INDY) and nonprofits suing the Governor and his cabinet for violating North Carolina’s public records law.
“The Governor’s counsel has taken the position that the sole remedy under the Public Records Law is to compel the production of the public record,” Tadych wrote in an email. “They contend there is no more relief available if the record is produced.”
“Somewhat obviously, we contend otherwise given the broad interpretation of the Public Records Law in the past, the public policy behind its enactment and the practical reality that defendants could always avoid consequences if they produced records immediately after suit was brought in order to avoid a court’s consideration of what happened in the space between making a public records request and its fulfillment.”
Translation: Roy Cooper will be elected governor before the McCrory administration admits it has done a terrible job of responding to public requests “as promptly as possible,” and taking measures to set that right.
For the record, the INDY is awaiting records of all communications between Governor McCrory and Heather Dickson, former chief of staff to the First Lady, as well as between McCrory and his scheduling director, Meredith McCullen.
Perhaps you can guess why we’ve requested these records, and we’ll certainly let you know when we’ve received them.