Editorial: A boost of transparency in Loveland

Reporter-Herald (Loveland): A few months ago, this column chided the transparency efforts in the city of Loveland, noting that surrounding jurisdictions had opened up so far as to allow any interested resident to peruse the emails received and sent from elected officials from the leisure of their own homes.

In Loveland, it was quite different. To access emails from public officials, a person would have to make an appointment with the city clerk, who would then have the task of going through the messages to ensure no privileged communications (such as with the city attorney to obtain legal advice, or about pending business deals that could alter the marketplace) made it to the public.

Last week, however, the city launched its version of email transparency, through the third-party provider Global Relay. There’s still some hoops to jump through with user names and passwords — unlike Larimer County, in which the link to commissioners’ emails is a seamless portion of the county’s website. But once a user gets to the site, the wide world of City Council email is available for view.

Mostly, it’s boring, too. Emails among councilors about when to schedule a meeting can create a thread a dozen messages long. Emails from county officials or officials from other cities about their projects pop up with regularity.

However, sometimes an issue arises in a City Council email that is neither mundane nor external to the city.

For instance, an email on Sunday night from City Councilor Don Overcash to other members of the City Council admonished the Reporter-Herald for allowing online readers of the publication to leave story comments without leaving their names. In his official capacity as a public servant, he requested each of his fellow councilors to effect change in the private, independent business that offers news coverage of the city — and whose readers are sometimes critical of council actions.

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