City councilman Joe Sack has publicly asked for information about the Rye Golf Club’s relationship with RM Staffing for several months and has stated that he has not received responses from the mayor and city manager to some of his requests. After time sheets and other RGC documents were made public this fall, the Rye City Council hired law firm Brune & Richard to investigate the golf club manager’s behavior and dealings with RM Staffing. That investigation has been ongoing for the last two months.
Last week Mayor Douglas French told the public that the RGC situation is “very serious” but that the council could not divulge any more information at this point in the investigation. Four days later, Sack wrote a guest column on MyRye, published Dec. 9, and council member Peter Jovanovch responded with his own guest column on the blog two days after Sack’s was published.
Sack’s letter details a time-line, starting in July 2012 when Sack first questioned the relationship between Rye Golf Club and RM Staffing, to Nov. 20 when Sack last asked the city manager for the emails between him and the mayor.
According to his letter, Sack has not received those emails.
On Dec. 11, MyRye published a letter from Councilman Peter Jovanovich stating that the city manager and French have “recently” informed Sack that if he does not use his government email address then they will not respond to him. “He still refuses,” Jovanovich wrote. If Sack would use his government email address the mayor and city manager would respond, Jovanovich wrote.
Jovanovich ended his letter with:
Joe Sack’s recent sally against the Mayor and the City Manager accomplishes nothing while chewing up time. To paraphrase Shakespeare, it’s an expense of spirit in a waste of silliness.
Sack considers his requests to be more serious than Jovanovich characterizes them to be. Sack writes that "we need openness and transparency” in city government, and that he believes the release of these emails will help provide that. Sack wrote:
Although it may not be a common occurrence for a council member to seek the city manager’s e-mails, and although this request may cause some to experience hard feelings in the short term, keeping the e-mails under wraps will not be good and healthy for the city in the long run.
Read both letters in full by visiting MyRye.com.
What do you think of the council members' opinions on this situation? Should elected officials be required to use their government emails to receive replies from city staff? Tell us in the comments.