Gainesville city commissioners can now "opt-out" of having emails published

Published: Nov. 12, 2019 at 6:28 PM EST
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The Gainesville City Commission is now allowing commissioners to decide whether or not to publish their emails online.

Emails sent to city commissioners can usually be found on their website.

Commissioners Adrian-Hayes Santos and Gail Johnson are choosing to not have their emails online.

Hayes-Santos claims not every single email was being published with the previous system.

"I don't want to be apart of fake transparency. There's also some issues in terms of being able to be a more efficient commissioner, I have people who will not send me emails because they don't want it to be auto-published that evening,” Hayes-Santos said.

Commissioner Johnson says she made her decision after talking to residents, in a statement sent to TV20 she also says:

"I have a strong desire to balance the need to know, versus the need to protect, in our on demand information culture. Personally, I have had multiple negative experiences that exposed confidential information of my family, as well as people that have emailed me."

Alachua County Commissioner emails are uploaded immediately once an email is sent.

"Folks should understand that every time you communicate with local government, it is transparent, it's open, it's in the sunshine and we believe it should be immediately available,” Alachua County Spokesman Mark Sexton said.

Sexton also says the county has no plans to change a system that has been in place for fifteen years.

By law, residents can put in a public records request to view Hayes-Santos and Johnson's emails but now some residents are questioning how will they know what to request without the emails being posted in the first place.

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