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City to review email policy Monday night

Proposal for consultant could be approved
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The Auburn City Council will be discussing the city?s email policy at Monday night?s meeting. The review comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Auburn resident Victoria Connolly and the First Amendment Coalition on June 1, who are asking a judge to rule that the council members conduct a forensic search of all of the computers they have used since January 1, 2010 and turn over records of their personal emails related to city business. The lawsuit asks for the court to invalidate the city?s current policy, which allows for deletion of emails after 30 days, and require them to retain the records for two years. The council members say they have turned over all of the required emails that are considered a public record, but will not release private emails from constituents. ?The opinion that I have received from people is they really want the right to send us an email and tell us what they thinking, good or bad. They are worried if suddenly it?s considered a public record that they wouldn?t communicate with us,? said Mayor Kevin Hanley. ?That is a really strong opinion I have been getting from folks.? Connolly has said in past interviews that her original interest in obtaining the emails was to see if any outside groups influenced the proposal for Auburn to become a charter city. Council members have said no outside groups had an influence in the decision. Hanley said the parties met in closed session Thursday and are moving toward a resolution in the lawsuit. He also suggested the city review its email policy. ?The city has been trying to catch up on making sure their public records policies are up-to-date with the expanding use of email,? Hanley said. ?At the same time we want to protect the ability of citizens to email us to send us their thoughts.? Auburn to seek ADA consultant Council members are also scheduled to approve an item on the consent calendar for the Director of Public Works to release the Request for Proposals for the City of Auburn?s Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan. Hanley said a consultant will be hired to help create a plan for the city to phase in the transition in areas that have not been updated or newly built. He said the plan is part of the terms of a settlement reached in a lawsuit over the city?s sidewalks not being in compliance with access laws. The budget for 2012-2013 to put toward bringing the city into compliance is $35,000 and is made up of city funds and grant monies. ~Sara Seyydin Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.