My email policy (and expectations for public officials)

Published March 5, 2016 by justicewg

I use email to communicate with public office holders here in Grandview. Some of them consider themselves to be great conversationalists and prefer to chat on the phone, if other people want that, fine. I don’t want an off the record chat, I want everything I say, and the public official says, to be on the record. That means email. If you are old school, paper works too.

I don’t expect immediate answers to my email, a week is fine for most questions. There are some who keep their email pinging on their cell phones and are used to snapping back with terse replies within minutes of receiving an email, I DON”T want that sort of answer.

I expect public official to carefully read all of my email message, then take the time to answer my questions fully, with supporting documents if needed. Completeness is much better than speed.

If you are a public official and you have some sort of disability that prevents you from typing, I am willing to accommodate.

Reasons for my expectations

Grandview’s elected officials have been selected by the community to be the representatives of the people, and to communicate the policies of the government bodies to which they belong. That is the job, and all officials are being paid by the taxpayers to do that job.

There are some officials in Grandview who think that they only have to do the “fun stuff”, allocating the money and making the rules, and they can blow off the emails from constituents because it is too hard, or they don’t have time. I don’t think those excuses will work for a private sector job, and it is worse to do this while on the public payroll. There is a general disdain for the government by large parts of the public right now, and officials who fail to answer emails are prime examples of why that disdain is held by so many. Officials who crow about how good this city is, while actively making it a worse place by trashing emails, are the reason there is so much cynicism about government.

That goes for public officials who answer emails that ask for detailed replies with single sentences too. We have some childish representatives who think it is cute to reply with a single word (most often “no”). If you are going to reply with snark, keep it to yourself, you are shaming the office you hold by being churlish.

Administrators on the public payroll

Grandview administrators should be responsive to email from the public too. We pay the top people at the school and in the city administration excellent wages, and expect them to be responsive to questions. That is the job they were hired to do.

There is a lot of talk in this city about how it is a small town without the bureaucratic fat that allows top officials to wall themselves off from the people who pay the bills. Yet there are some officials who think they are special, and they don’t have to answer email. These people are what is wrong with the city, and they should be removed from office.

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