Talk to me, but only via certain channels 

Springs City Council members, as Councilor Tom Strand puts it, are "going in 100 different directions." So it's quite common for reporters to try any means possible to reach them when news is breaking or a deadline is looming.

Last week, Council Communications Officer Vicki Gomes told us, via email in which the Indy was the only apparent recipient, "When corresponding with City Council, please use their city email address or city office phone. Council will not respond to a media request sent to their personal email address."

Say what?

When we pushed back, Council Administrator Eileen Lynch Gonzalez said, again via email, "City Council is not trying to limit communication with the media. By asking the media to contact Councilmembers through their work email address or work phone — cell or office — we're trying to make sure they're not using private email for City-related business, which you referenced in your April 2015 article 'Got the message?'"

That's the story in which we reported that Mayor Steve Bach's employees used private emails for city business, which are subject to disclosure under open-records laws.

In any event, several councilors tell us they forward emails from their private accounts to their city email accounts, and then respond accordingly. "Anything that I receive on my personal email that is city business I forward to the city email and take action from there so that everything is captured on the city server," Councilor Andy Pico explains.

Councilor Bill Murray does the same to "insure my promise of transparency."

Several also told us we could contact them on their city cell phones. (Gomes later told us councilors' work cell phones are fair game and provided a list of numbers.)

Council President Merv Bennett went one better, saying via email, "I have no problem with you contacting me on my personal cell phone," although he says he'd prefer emails be restricted to his city address.

Strand seems to be bucking the system a bit. "I give people my personal cell phone number all the time," he says. "But I don't know if that's appropriate or not. I give that to people who want to get in touch with me."

To reach a Council member's office: Merv Bennett, 385-5469, mbennett@springsgov.com; Jill Gaebler, 385-5483, jgaebler@springsgov.com; Don Knight, 385-5487, dknight@springsgov.com; Larry Bagley, 385-5493, lbagley@springsgov.com; Keith King, 385-5470, kcking@springsgov.com; Helen Collins, 385-5492, hcollins@springsgov.com; Andy Pico, 385-5491, apico@springsgov.com; Bill Murray, 385-5485, bmurray@springsgov.com; Tom Strand, 385-5486, tstrand@springsgov.com.

Be aware of a city policy that allows the city to "monitor or examine messages," and most are subject to disclosure.

— Pam Zubeck


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