Loveland city council emails take turn toward secrecy

Reporter-Herald (Loveland): While the city of Loveland is accepting applications for a new city attorney, the interim city attorney has implemented an email policy that some say goes against the spirit of transparency and of the state’s open records law.

In August, the city of Loveland launched a transparency email tool that made Loveland City Council members’ emails accessible to the public online in real time. The move came several years after Larimer County commissioners and Fort Collins City Council members had implemented similar systems on their respective governments’ websites.

But, following what city officials said were security issues on the part of the email provider, staff agreed to a change in the system: emails would still be available online, but users would see them after a delay of one business day.

Colorado’s Open Records Act ensures the public has access to their local elected leaders’ emails, but it doesn’t require them to be posted online: “Open records act creates a general presumption in favor of public access to government documents, exceptions to the act must be narrowly construed, and an agreement by a governmental entity that information in public records will remain confidential is insufficient to transform a public record into a private one. Daniels v. City of Commerce City, 988 P.2d 648 (Colo. App. 1999).”

Often, emails from the Loveland city attorney’s office would show up in the online email system as the city attorney and assistant city attorneys communicated with City Council members.

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