Item 14. E on the agenda for Galveston City Council’s next meeting is a stinker.
When it comes up for discussion, the City Council should just say no.
The proposal would restrict the use of the council’s official email account to its members.
Some people see this as a direct slap at Councilwoman Terrilyn Tarlton, who represents District 5. She’s famous for sending tons of public information to her constituents by email.
Tarlton runs her own business and still finds time to do a lot of homework on city business. Though the council job is unpaid, she has hired an executive assistant with her own funds. When he sends email to constituents, its marked “William Jenkins, executive assistant to Terrilyn Tarlton.”
So what legitimate interest would the City Council have in banning that practice?
Should the City Council make it harder for individual members to keep constituents informed? Does anybody think that fits into the spirit of the Texas Public Information Act?
And, if you were a member of City Council, wouldn’t you find this proposal just a little bit intrusive?
This proposal would be a bit like prohibiting lawyers from directing legal assistants to act on their behalf. It would be a bit like requiring corporate executives to type and send their own letters — no cheating by using assistants.
There are two problems here.
First, instead of making it harder to send material about the public’s business to the public, the council ought to recognize a good practice when it sees one. It ought to applaud openness, rather than try to restrict it.
Second, this council, with only about five weeks left in its term, really ought to stop doing stuff like this. This kind of constant effort to restrict information in small, trivial ways makes the council as a whole look small and trivial. This stuff really ought to stop.
Item 14. E
Discuss and consider for action amending Article III, City Council, Section 2-147, to require that use of Mayor and Councilmember email is restricted to our Mayor and City Councilmembers.
WHAT: Galveston City Council
WHEN: 1 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: City Hall, 823 Rosenberg