Former Salem town Chairman Linda Valentine has received as an open record the email addresses on a distribution list Salem uses to communicate with the public.
Valentine made the request Monday.
On Wednesday, current town Chairman Diann Tesar issued a statement to the members of that list (which includes westofthei.com) that the addresses were being turned over to Valentine after legal review as they were judged a public record.
“I have spoken with legal counsel regarding this and it is with much regret that I must inform you that we are obliged to comply with Ms.Valentine’s request to give her all the e-mail addresses on this list,” Tesar wrote. “I do not know how Ms. Valentine intends to use this information.”
The list is used to distribute information such as meeting agendas and announcements to individuals who have expressed an interest in receiving such information.
Valentine said she received 189 email addresses from the town on Wednesday.
In her communication to the group, Tesar said the town will no longer communicate via the email list. Tesar wrote:
Along with this, I am going to cease this current means of communication with you and all the others on the list for now. I feel that Linda Valentine has taken advantage of you and your privacy and does not care that you might not want to share your personal e-mail address with her. I did not start this ”list”, however; wish (now) that perhaps we could have informed everyone before being added to the list, that it meant that someone could obtain and use your e-mail address and it becomes a public record under the Open Records Law.
In her own statement, Valentine, who operates a Google group and Facebook page about Salem issues, said this about her use of the email addresses:
How will I use the email addresses? Perhaps to add to my extensive distribution lists that I use now to let people know about lost dogs? Or, to advise them of road closures that the clerk could notice but choses not to notice to the citizens? Or, to remind people about election days and where to vote? Perhaps to let them know about an activity happening at the town, like Pumkindaze for which the clerk last year advertised 4 days prior to the largest possible event in the town. Or, to make sure that there is a good knowledge base on issues that affect where we live on a very timely basis. Or, to remind people about events happening soon that will affect them, like the most recent concern ATVS on roads in Salem or golf carts on the roads? Or, to promote neighborhood social events that bring people together? Or, to respond to this very letter that Diann has sent out to select individuals where she has attempted to alienate a common citizen in the town.