National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

DE: FOIA access to emails resisted by Newwark councilmembers

A proposed policy aimed at ensuring government transparency and standardizing the process of releasing council members emails under the Freedom of Information Act met with fierce resistance from several council members Monday.

“I have so much to say about this,” Councilman Stu Markham said, adding he has several concerns, including privacy issues for constituents who email him. “I could probably talk for an hour about issues I have with how this was presented.”

Under the policy, proposed by City Secretary and FOIA coordinator Renee Bensley, each council member and the mayor would be provided with a city-maintained email address – firstname.lastname@newark.de.us – to use for all city business. Currently, council members use private email providers such as Gmail or AOL.

If a city business-related email is received on a private account, the council member would be required to forward it to his or her government account. All emails would be retained based on state record retention guidelines. Read more…