SALEM — Two residents asked the Salem Town Board Monday to resume e-mail notifications to residents who want to receive town agendas and other correspondence.
Town chairwoman Diann Tesar suspended use of an e-mail list on July 2 after an open records request for those e-mails. The list was used to send meeting notices to constituents
On Tesar’s behalf, town clerk Cindi Ernest sent an e-mail to everyone on the list (189 recipients) informing them of the request and of her decision to halt its use for communications.
Tesar said her decision was based on the belief that people who requested e-mail notifications may not have known their personal e-mails would become open records.
Release form suggestedResident Chris Skrzynecki said the town should develop a form people can fill out that clearly states they understand their e-mail address becomes public record should they choose to receive correspondence that way.
He said the suspension had no impact because the previous list is already out there and the e-mails were provided to the resident who requested them.
“That horse is out of the barn already,” he said. “(Suspending the practice) didn’t change or solve anything.”
All it does, he said, is prevent residents who wish to receive the e-mail correspondence from getting it.
Resident Carl Siegel agreed. He said there are important issues and upcoming meetings he would like to know about.
“There are going to be meetings for the incorporation. There are going to be meetings for Pumpkin Days,” he said. “It is a lot easier for people to get e-mails than to look on the website.”
Tesar said the only way she would reinstate the correspondence is if a form like the one Skrzynecki proposed is used.
Though in her letter informing those on the list that she believed it was a successful form of communication, Tesar said Monday she hasn’t reinstated it because she does not “prefer it.”
‘Force feeding’Supervisor Dennis Faber said the board heard from an outside attorney a couple of years ago that municipalities do not typically “force feed” information to residents.
Faber said sending e-mail notices to some residents discriminates against people who do not want their e-mail made public.
Tesar said the board may still consider reinstating the practice.
“It hasn’t been dismissed yet by the board,” Tesar said.
Meeting notices are posted on the town website, www.townofsalem.net.