City of Vancouver stops using e-mail access to reach “Mayor and Council,” switches to online form

city-council-2014-large(Update on 13-Jun-2017. Asked by Clr Melissa de Genova near the end of a City Council meeting about this topic of the e-mail address termination, City Manager Sadhu Johnston replied that he was not aware of it having been done, but would check into it and report back.)

As of today, people are noticing that e-mails to Vancouver’s Mayor and ten Councillors (mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca) are no longer going to get through. This follows a similar pattern with the shift from general e-mail access to an online form last September (see ““info@vancouver.ca” e-mail address discontinued as City shifts to icon-based screen online“).

Here is the message that comes back if you write to “mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca”:

Mayor and Council Correspondence
This email account is no longer being monitored.
To contact Mayor and Council, please submit your comments through the online form.

Mayor and Council no longer monitored 8-Jun-2017

The link goes to here:
http://vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-council.aspx

As far as we know, no one at the City has provided any explanation of the rationale for this decision, or who made it, and whether or not there was any consideration of the pros and cons. Some people will argue that e-mail was certainly a convenient way of sending comments and information to Mayor and Council. Some may find the online form more convenient.

Comments, anyone? An early observation is the 3500 character limit on the text, about two pages of text. Also, by going with the online form, do people have a copy of what they sent? Some responses below our post here indicate the downside of removing the e-mail option.

The <mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca has for years been a popular way to reach the Mayor and Councillors with one e-mail.

There are of course other ways to reach Mayor and Council — by phone, direct e-mail to each individual, an in-person meeting, and yes, even by regular “snail” mail. See our list of contact information here: Contact Mayor/Council, School Board, Park Board
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/city-hall/contact-officials/

NEW ONLINE FORM PAGE

Mayor and Council access page 8-Jun-2017

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3 thoughts on “City of Vancouver stops using e-mail access to reach “Mayor and Council,” switches to online form

  1. What email does is provide is a paper trail for the sender that the online form does not. Was that a consideration? The form format could be good, it could be not good in any given circumstance. I suspect there is a moderator handling the forms coming in making the form is a less direct access point, perhaps filtered, to the civic leaders than email addressed to the individual.

  2. The switch to the “online form” prevents e-mail sent by the public to other departments (such as City Transportation Engineering) to be copied directly to the Mayor and Councillors. This ends the paper trail between departments such that the Mayor and Councillors cannot monitor in real time what communication, or if communication, is happening between the public and various departments of the COV. In short, it cuts the ties that bind legally so that Mayor and Councillors can claim ignorance of other departments not consulting at all, or not in a timely manner, with the public who send these departments e-mail communication. Just as City Council has recently turned over more authority to City Engineering to make decisions regarding changes to streets without having to engage in public consultation or reports to Council, relieving City Engineers and Council of any responsibility of public consultation, no more monitoring by Mayor and Council of public e-mail similarly reduces responsibility to the public. It also means more work and time for the public to compose and send separate online form messages/copies to the Mayor and Council, lessening the likelihood that the public willl do so. When the public was able to copy directly to Mayor and Council these e-mails to other City departments, a response was assured and timely because these departments had to appear responsible in the eyes of the Mayor and Council, and the Mayor and Council were responsible to keep these departments answerable to the public. Cutting off direct copy forwarding to the Mayor and Council is the deliberate attempt by Mayor and Council and its departments to evade responsibility to the public. Further erosion of democracy, representation and transparency.

  3. Hard to fault Susan Smith’s logic and reasoning. This is just another attempt by the Vision regime to distance themselves from citizen involvement.

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