Is An Agreement Between Construction Manager and Department of General Services a Public Record ?

In Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Department of General Services, 747 A.2d 962 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2000), a party requested a copy of an agreement between a construction manager, which was retained by the Department of General Services (DGS) to oversee a building project, and the successful bidder for a construction management insurance program. DGS denied the request on the basis that DGS was not a party to the agreement between the construction manager and the insurance broker. On appeal, this Court observed that if DGS had contracted directly with the insurance broker there would be no question that the contract is a public document. Id. at 966. Further, the Law does not permit an agency to avoid its obligation to disclose documents by contracting indirectly through a third party. Id. Thus, the Court held that the agreement was a public record subject to disclosure under the Law and we reversed DGS's decision to deny disclosure. Id.