Make Huber Heights City Emails Publicly Available
One of the two issues I decided to focus on for this campaign (and my time on council when elected) is transparency. To see exactly how the Huber Heights City government could improve transparency, I’ve been taking a peek at its Public Records Request portal.
Since the public records portal’s inception, there have been at least 470 public records requests. The first available ticket (ticket #1) was June 28, 2018:
To make a “more transparent” government, then the information that people are requesting should already be available. Indeed, some of it is - people might not know where to look and just go straight to making a public records request.
Nevertheless, looking at what the common requests are is a good way to see what people want to know. And one common item people request is email. Email between council members. Email between council and the city manager.
I think that every email should already be available - preferable on the city’s website (maybe at a subdomain like mail.hhoh.org). Well, maybe not every email - spam should be excluded. Perhaps emails from external sources - and emails that contain things like social security numbers and bank account numbers should be excluded (or at least the confidential information removed).
Systems already exist that archive email for display in a web-based environment, although it seems it’s aimed for “mailing lists”. But it could still work for transparency reasons.
A popular such system is GNU Mailman (read its article on Wikipedia for a less-technical overview).
To see it in action, check out this March 2021 archive of the English Wikipedia Article of the Day mailing list. If you want to see something where people interact, check out this March 2021 Wikimedia archive by thread. Other options include archived by subject and archived by author.
Also - if these lists are publicly available, they can be searched with search engines such as Google. Try searching ohio site:https://lists.wikimedia.org!