Pa. Office of Open Records: Wyoming mayor’s Facebook page is public record

By Jerry Lynott - [email protected]
The state Office of Open Records granted the request by former Wyoming Mayor Bob Boyer for information related to the Facebook page of his successor Joseph Dominick. - Times Leader file photo
Dominick - Times Leader file photo

The state Office of Open Records determined Wyoming Mayor Joseph Dominick uses his personal Facebook account for official borough business and directed him to provide information about its management and content to a political opponent.

Former Mayor Bob Boyer, who was unseated by Dominick last year, said the determination issued Wednesday granted four of his 10 requests for records.

“They are the key areas,” Boyer said Friday.

The OOR directed Dominick to provide information on who edits and administers the page, Joseph Dominick Mayor of Wyoming, blocked or removed posts, emails related to the administration of the page and a printout of all posts to the page. Some of the information requested did not exist, the OOR said.

Boyer, a Democrat, added that he asked for the information to hold Dominick, a Republican, accountable for the promises he made during his campaign and for alleged violations of the First Amendment arising from how the page is managed.

“This information is going to trigger civil litigation,” Boyer said.

Dominick responded by email to a call for comment on the determination.

“Bob Boyer cannot face reality. He lost the election by a 7 to 3 margin and is determined to punish the residents of Wyoming for his loss. I will not willingly allow this to happen and plan to appeal the open records ruling to the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Mr. Boyer should not be using the PA Open Records Office as tactic to force me to turn over my personal Facebook messages and intimidate our citizens by infringing on their 1st amendment rights,” Dominick said.

“Mr. Boyer continuously claims there is an open investigation into my Facebook page which is the same claim he made the day the State Police raided his home in connection with an alleged grant rigging investigation involving his catering business while he was mayor. As of today, I have never been contacted by the (Luzerne County) DA’s office regarding his allegation of an investigation.”

District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said she had no comment.

No charges have been filed as a result of the search warrant state police served on Boyer at his Shulde Lane house in May. According to the affidavit supporting the warrant, investigators were looking for evidence linking a state grant applied for by the borough to Boyer’s catering business run out of a neighboring volunteer fire company’s hall.

After the borough denied his request for information related to the Facebook page and said some of the information did not exist, Boyer turned to the state. The OOR determined that even though Dominick stated his Facebook page is not authorized by the borough, “it is apparent that he uses this Facebook page in his role as mayor as a tool to foster community action and engagement. Therefore, the Facebook page is a public record of Borough.”

In making its determination, attorney Jordan C. Davis, appeals officer for the OOR, said the borough did not adequately explain how Dominick conducted his search for the requested information.

Davis said any appeal of the determination must be filed with the county court.

The state Office of Open Records granted the request by former Wyoming Mayor Bob Boyer for information related to the Facebook page of his successor Joseph Dominick.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Boyer-2.cmyk_-1.jpgThe state Office of Open Records granted the request by former Wyoming Mayor Bob Boyer for information related to the Facebook page of his successor Joseph Dominick. Times Leader file photo

Dominick
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_DominickCropped.cmyk_-1.jpgDominick Times Leader file photo
Wyoming’s ex-mayor sought information

By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.