Hollister mayor switches to public email for city business

Mayor Ignacio Velazquez

Mayor Ignacio Velazquez recently switched from using a private email account for city business to exclusively using a city address—in a move that enhances transparency and curtails the official’s discretion on what’s accessible to the public.
Velazquez after he was interviewed for a Free Lance story in January about emails related to the Hollister biker rally decided to switch over to using a public account for city matters, he told the newspaper this week.
Velazquez said he came to understand the notion that public officials like himself must use public email for government issues to ensure trust from residents.
“If it’s city business, it’s city business,” the mayor said.
Nikki Moore, legal counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, said public officials’ use of private email continues to be a “huge issue” that predates national controversy surrounding Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for government business.
Moore mentioned how there’s a case pending in the California Supreme Court, initiated in San Jose, which takes up private email use by public officials.
“So it’s definitely an issue that is on the minds of everyone in California because the law doesn’t address it at this point,” Moore said.
She went on regarding the CNPA view.
“Obviously, our view is that if there is public business being done, it doesn’t really matter where it’s being done,” Moore said.
The question of whether private accounts are at all appropriate for public business is at stake in a case between Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento News & Review newspaper.
“To the extent that someone chooses to do public business on a private email, they’re making it more difficult for the public to assert its right to access those emails,” Moore said.
On the Hollister council, Council members Ray Friend and Mickie Luna continue to list their private email addresses in contact information on the city website, while Councilman Karson Klauer recently declared by email that he would exclusively use a city account for city issues.

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