LETTER: Political correspondence must be on the public record

A mayor using a private email erodes public trust.

I’m concerned our mayor is directing people to use his private email.

I’m not saying he meant to do so, but here’s the crux of the problem. In the Hillary Clinton so-called email scandal south of the border, she used her private email and deleted thousands of them. Editorialists on both sides of the border rightly point out that a politician must be above board, and all correspondence, emails, etc. must be on the public record. Period.

Politicians work for the public good – not their own, and the public has a right to know every facet about how they are carrying out that work.

That includes the mayor of Abbotsford.

Henry Braun directed the public to use his private email on his Facebook page where he posts as a politician promoting the City of Abbotsford. That’s a dangerous precedent.

Let’s say you want to tell the mayor about a problem in the city, or maybe you’re unhappy with one of his decisions. All emails should go to the mayor’s email at the city, so that there is a public record and paper trail. Otherwise, the mayor can just say, “Oh, I don’t like that email, or I don’t like that person” – and voila’ – delete. No paper trail. Conversely, let’s say, you’re a developer and you want an inside scoop on land, you email the mayor on his private email instead of the city’s, and again, there’s no paper trail.

I’m not saying that would happen, but when the mayor says: “Use my private email,” it opens the mayor’s chair for potential abuse of power and privilege.

The wisest choice now, I believe, is for Henry to change course.

Maybe it was an error of judgement, and that’s fine, because we all do that at times, and he’s new at a very challenging job. I think it would be a step in good faith to tell people very clearly to use his public email at the city, no ifs or buts about it. Then delete his private email from the public record on Facebook, and only use the mayor’s email at the city.

Plainly stated, a mayor using a private email erodes public trust.

 

Trudy Beyak

Abbotsford