Centre County Commissioners Vice Chairman Chris Exarchos shared some thoughts Tuesday regarding District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller’s request to find the county in contempt of court.
When asked for comment during the Board of Commissioners regular meeting Tuesday, Exarchos called the latest request “frivolous.”
“There’s a suit because we released (records), now there’s a suit because we don’t release,” he said. “We’re darned if you do and darned if you don’t.”
The request stems from an order issued last month by Huntingdon County Senior Judge Stewart L. Kurtz involving Right-to-Know requests and how the county is to handle them. Kurtz ordered that the county not respond to requests involving the judiciary — including Parks Miller and members of her office — and to forward the requests to the proper officials.
Bruce Castor Jr., Parks Miller’s attorney, argues in the filing that the county acted in “flagrant violation” of the order when a request from the Centre County Public Defender’s Office was denied by county Administrator Tim Boyde after Kurtz’s order was issued and not forwarded Parks Miller, the Right-to-Know officer for her office.
The request would be OK if it weren’t costing the taxpayers and staff, Exarchos said, but in the end, it has little to do with how the county got to this position in the first place — the allegations leveled against Parks Miller.
“The allegations aren’t just rumors,” he said. “There are sworn affidavits of serious misconduct and probably allegations of criminal conduct.”
Exarchos also said he was extremely disappointed in a court system that seems more interested in protecting its own interests than in justice.
“It seems to me in trying to protect their own turf, they may be protecting criminal behavior,” he said. “Under the circumstances and the seriousness of the allegations, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the people are entitled to know what happened here.”
He also called out the agencies responsible for addressing these scenarios, such as the Judicial Conduct Board and the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board.
“I think by now they should know what transpired in this county,” he said. “They should be able to give us an answer.”
Exarchos said he didn’t think the request was being used to delay a resolution before the November election, but rather a stunt to deflect attention away from the real issues.
“It’s imperative we restore the confidence in the judicial system in this county,” he said. “We can’t continue to operate in this environment.