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FoCo City Council emails available to public

Screen shot from www.fcgov.com/council/.
Screenshot of Fort Collins City Council emails. (Photo credit: www.fcgov.com/council/)

If Fort Collins residents want to email the mayor about unwanted newspaper delivery, now is better than ever.

The Fort Collins City Council invites citizens to read their emails by following the instructions on their website.

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Since email records were made public on Aug. 12, all eyes have been able to watch members of the Fort Collins City Council by reading through pages of emails between the councilmembers and their community.

The inquires have involved everything from concerns over the CSU stadium to requests for indoor water parks. Personalized responses from the councilmembers have been minimal.

Since the transparency went live, several CSU students have been in support of the change.

“It makes them watch their step,” said junior Spanish major Herb Klopfenstein.

On the surface, email transparency may provide incentives for the community to get involved while making the councilmembers think twice before hitting send.

On the other hand, some argue the negatives outweigh the positives.

Unless you mark “PRIVATE” on your email, it will be made viewable to the public.

“The only negative I can see is that people might think their emails are private, but they are being made public records,” said Tobi Adedeji, a sophomore journalism major.

Others are concerned with the results of sensitive information being made accessible.

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“I never follow the City Council, but I will definitely check it out just to see what was hidden from us before,” said Ashley Lewis, a sophomore business major.

Although some see email transparency as a positive thing, councilmember Bob Overbeck questioned the implications.

“Where do we strike the proper balance between having a conversation with a citizen and then having the whole world read it and possibly take it out of context,” Overbeck said.

When city councilmembers are getting 150 emails per day, interaction through email can become a nuisance rather than a convenience.

“I think I had 3,000 emails between council and personal last month alone,” said Councilmember Gino Campana.

Campana and Overbeck have both expressed frustration with the endless emails.

“When I got on council, it was like I jumped in a river because the river never stops flowing,” Overbeck said.

Collegian Reporter Christina Vessa can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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