Several months ago I wrote about the importance for the Richland 2 School District to set up District email addresses for Monica Elkins and Teresa Holmes.
First of all, why should there be any hesitation or reluctance by the District to do so? As soon as an elected person becomes a legal board member, that should be right at the top of the list after he or she takes the oath of office.
It should be a District Policy. A Board Policy.
OK, so that explains why Holmes doesn't have one and uses a personal Gmail address. But that isn't the reason that Holmes doesn't have a District email address (@richland2.org) for Holmes.
All school business should be conducted on the District's email server, so that there is a permanent and accessible record forever by the District.
One of these days Holmes and Elkins won't be board members. When that day comes, how will the District be able to meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act? On the day they leave office, they could close their Gmail accounts and wipe out all official business email communications.
What would keep Holmes or Elkins from making an incomplete search of their email records when responding to a FOIA request?
What would keep them from deleting an incoming or outgoing message that they'd prefer did not exist?
Or let's say that a member of the public or a government agency or a business submits a FOIA request.
What control does Richland 2 have over the Gmail accounts of Holmes and Elkins? NONE.
This is basic Public Body 101.
Holmes and Elkins should not be able to say, "But I like my Gmail address. I don't want a richland2.org email address." Well, it doesn't matter. The District should set it up for them and tell them that they WILL use it for all official email correspondence.
What reason or excuse does the District have for not following this common-sense requirement?