Saturday, March 28, 2015

Greg "I'm The Most Transparent Mayor" Ballard Has No Government E-Mail Account

The IBJ's Kathleen McLaughlin tells us Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has no government e-mail account to document his communications among staff members and the public. It's funny because he had an e-mail account he used as a candidate. Are we to believe he stopped using e-mail when he became mayor? Or has he continued using a private e-mail account to conduct official communications in order to skirt Indiana's Access to Public Records Law?

The state's Public Access Counselor Luke Britt takes the position an e-mail communication is a public record regardless of whether a public or private e-mail account is used if it involves an official communication of a public official, although there are no rules, statutes or case law affirming that legal contention. "When a public official avails himself of any communication medium, whether it is phone, email or text message, he is availing himself of the Indiana access laws when communicating in his official capacity," Britt said in an October opinion on a Lake County complaint.

McLaughlin's story notes that a number of City-County Council members, including the council president, Maggie Lewis, use private e-mail accounts. The main reason council members use private e-mail accounts is because they figured out early on that the mayor's office spied on their e-mail communications. When the shoe is on the other foot and it's the council trying to pry e-mail communications out of the administration, which has been the case with respect to the ROC investigation, the council has had to resort to obtaining an order from a judge to force the administration to turn over public documents, including e-mails.

One of the things that McLaughlin's story doesn't delve deeply into is the use of texting for communications. It's very frustrating when you see public officials, including council members and administration folks relying heavily on text messaging during official meetings. It's obvious that some council members have a private conversation going on during council meetings often about a matter under debate at the meeting. Lobbyists close to council members who have members' personal cell phone address are able to communicate one-on-one with them during legislative deliberations, giving them an unfair advantage over the public. Members of the public must sit sometimes for hours waiting to offer public testimony, only to be given a very short time allotment to express their views.


Anonymous said...

Great points, all, Gary, especially about the private text conversations which often occur during the various governmental/municipal meetings.

I know this for a fact because I've been in the audience at City County Council meetings and at hearings with my very-connected politico friend who received and replied to texts from Councilors and members on hearing panels. My friend shared some of the texts with me; I will refrain from naming the Councilor or Councilors or public officials I know for a fact text-communicate "impressions" about a co-Councilor or a citizen who is speaking their mind on any given matter [hardly flattering in either case] or possibly communicate how a vote will go or what will probably be enacted. Those text hat tips sure can be rewarding in every sense of the word.

As far as the card-carrying moron we sadly call "mayor", Greg Ballard, is concerned, IMHO he is the most worthless POS on the planet. He sold his soul to the attorney and his law firm that first victory night. Does Greg Ballard know what a computer is let alone really have an ounce of sense on how to use one? Maybe his Asian lady but doubtful Greg even knows how to boot a notebook or desktop CPU.

Anonymous said...

I have been told by Councilors that they use private email because they are concerned that their emails will be read by other Councilors.

Anonymous said...

Does Winnie?

Sir Hailstone said...

"Does Greg Ballard know what a computer is let alone really have an ounce of sense on how to use one?"

Actually - he does. And upon becoming mayor - he stopped using one for the most part. I'm sure his Corp Counsel and B&T handlers told him that emails and what he does on the City-County internet connection is public record and subject to review by anyone. Hence his response early on in his administration when someone asked him if he still read blogs and such and he said "not anymore".

And back when I used to participate in the process so to speak I'd exchange texts and emails all the time with certain councilors, even during CCC meetings and I was asked to "NEVER" send email to a member's email address.