I've been meaning to drop in a story about our newly elected Trustee, Tom Fehring. He's trying to put me out of business.
He has his own blog! Imagine that, a Village official, tinkering with internet outreach. So far, Tom's been writing about topics from construction to rain barrels .. he's got a great page on Exploring WFB History .. and one explaining his take on how to Improve the Village .. I hope to see future blog entries on all the secret wheeling and dealing behind Trustee doors.
Heck, I'd be happy to read about the public wheeling and dealing, as our media coverage is pretty thin.
Oh, and here's something else. He has a public email address, TrusteeFehring@WFBVillage.org. Imagine that.
All the Trustees have private email addresses that some people are fortunate enough to have, but they're not technically public information. If you want to reach the Trustees via email, the official way is to email the Village Manager (manager@WFBVillage.org) who will forward/print your email for Trustee consumption. Hardly 2007 technology.
Of course, the reluctance has something to do with open records laws, whereby official communication should be archived. Now that WFB has a new website, with GovOffice servers, the technology should be available.
I think email correspondence is vital to a more responsive government. Let's face it, Whitefish Bay's demographics are dominated by busy people. Families with soccer games to go to. Dance recitals, kung-fu tournaments. Not many have the time to go to Village meetings and voice their opinions, or just converse with their officials.
Email is the great equalizer, as it lowers the bar, making it very easy to communicate with the people who represent you. Of particular import, though, is that with more communication, vocal minorities can be equalized by the greater community.
In Shorewood, you can contact your Trustees via email.
In Glendale, you can contact your Trustees via email. They even have Trustee pages, on their (otherwise abysmal) website.
In Mequon, you can contact the Mayor via email. Partial credit.
Fox Point and Bayside have pretty nice websites, but no Trustee access.
But extra credit goes to Bayside. Somehow, their tiny town has got their internet act together, minus Trustee email address. You want a list of New Ordinances? How about Resolutions? (Oh, and notice how a resolution was passed 5 days ago, and posted immediately? Warp speed.) How about a WEEKLY newsletter on what Bayside officials are up to? Great stuff.
WFB Trustee Fehring requested his Official email address. Let's see Pritchard, Roemer, Schmidt, Cheng, Siegel, and Brennan do the same!
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