Q: I would like to know how many towns and cities have contact emails (ie. firstname.lastname@example.org) on their websites and what type of feedback is garnered from these options. Our Council is in need of more public input on some issues/projects and this might be a way to help that along. Also, is there a specific disclaimer so that people know their email is public information? And do the towns and cities prefer to have people contact the Council, Mayor, Clerk or appropriate Department Head directly? The Town of Upton had a horrible experience with a town related Facebook page, so that social media option is out for now. Thank you!!
The City of Cody has a "generic" email, along with emails for the Mayor, City Administrator, Council, and Department Heads on the City's webpage. The main things that come through the generic email are generally odd items like collecting post cards please send me one of your town, a couple of complaints they did not know who to direct to....I would say we average 2 generic emails a year. I don't know if there is a free version of Survey Monkey or something similar - the City of Cody uses this for a lot of things relating to employee and/or citizen input.
Bairoil ~ We do have our contact information on our website. I haven’t had any trouble with it. We don’t have a facebook page other than someone in the community started one that is not connected to the Town politics thankfully. It’s just a bunch of people that live or used to live here that connect & visit. Almost all of the e-mail flows through the main e-mail address and then the Research Clerk or myself disburse as needed.
Gillette ~ Our website uses a combination of a generic webmaster email address and department email addresses. No direct email addresses are given Most of our interaction with the public comes from our Facebook and Twitter feeds. As for the disclaimer, here is what we have on our outgoing email (also included in your forwarded string)... "Emails and attachments may be public records under the Wyoming Public Records Act, W.S. § 16-4-201 et seq., and may be subject to public disclosure pursuant to this Act, unless a specific exception applies which limits or prohibits disclosure."
Guernsey ~ We have set up a complaint box at the town hall, which seems to help a bit. Some residents will contact the mayor directly and visit with him. We also have a specific info email listed on website, which people could use for such concerns, but it doesn’t seem to get many messages in regard to complaints/concerns. I have noticed over the years that most people seem to prefer the to do their grumblings in a not so direct manner.
Worland ~ We do have something like that on our website, and the emails are sent to directly to my email and then I disseminate as necessary. Most of them are questions about the City or complaints.
Douglas ~ We do have a couple different things available on our website, which we just had redeveloped a few years ago. We are with Civic Plus now and we really like them. The cities of Cheyenne, Cody, Green River, and others are with them too (so is IIMC). They did this work for us as far as developing what works well. Here is a link to our site: http://www.cityofdouglas.org/ and down at the bottom, you’ll see several icons. This is the primary area where people can send the city a message or provide an idea, etc. We have it linked on the backside with whichever person it should go to. For example, if a person reports a pothole that needs fixed, those automatically go the Public Works Director. As you can see, we don’t have much set up on there. Under Community Voice they can provide ideas. The Notify Me tool allows people to sign up for notifications, such as bid lettings, Council agendas, calendar updates, etc. This gets used primarily by people for the Council agendas. Also, our Facebook page is set up so that people can’t comment; it’s only for us to provide information to the public.
Encampment ~ We are in the development stage for our website. We will have an email contact link on that site which will come directly into town hall and we will handle it as official correspondence as we handle all email. We will probably use a statement for our email link similar to the statement we use with email, but enhanced with comments about emails being viewed as official correspondence and not intended as a tool for reporting emergencies, transaction of official business, requests for service, or for any situation requiring immediate response. Communication via email is for convenience only and does not guarantee response. I was thinking that we may have an abuse of email clause as well, but we have not gotten that far yet. I am interested in knowing what others are doing too.
My Mayor prefers that all contact with the public be in as official a manner as possible. He encourages the council to be knowledgeable but to advise residents that they need to communicate their issues with the body as a whole. The can come to a meeting or do it in writing, where the body will discuss the matter as a whole. They do not give out email addresses or personal information. We are very small town and the coffee shop is where all the trouble starts. Sometimes we have had council comment to public on matters they have not looked into and they have learned some harsh lessons.
When I get email from people if it is simply informational I treat it as I would a person at the counter. If it is all controversial I reply that it will be handled officially.
Mountain View ~ We have a contact us option on our website www.mtvwy.com. Any contact made through our page is set up to go to my work email (the website administrator), as well our admin email. Replies can be set up to go to any email of your choice. The admin (Penny) and myself view these emails and from there decide if they need to be forwarded to the Mayor, Council Member etc... To be honest with you, the majority of our emails that we get from our webpage are most likely fraud/spam/phishing saying they are website developers and could make our site better. On occasion we get legitimate questions from people who are looking to move into our community or someone who would prefer to remain anonymous for different situations.