Patti Way email follow-up from Elk Grove City staff raises questions on city hall protocol

August 14, 2018 |  

As was reported earlier this week, the water flowing out of a house in Elk Grove's East Franklin neighborhood is not only an eyesore, it has created a pedestrian safety hazard. That safety hazard has been addressed by the City of Elk Grove, but not without costs to taxpayers. 

Earlier today, on the social media platform Next Door, a copy of what appears to be a forwarded email received by an Elk Grove constituent from Council Member Steve Detrick was posted. From all appearances, the email was from the city's assistant director of development services, Shane Diller to Detrick, and city manager Jason Behrmann among others.

In his position, Diller is charged with many duties including code enforcement. Diller reported the immediate actions that were taken and how the city may pursue resolution of the problem.

But if you look closely at the email, one thing should pop out. That something is what address was used for Detrick.

The email was addressed to Detrick at what appears to be his work email address. The significance of this is that Diller is communicating official city information to a council member at an email that is not his official city email address.

From a logistics point of view, it is understandable Diller wanted to reach Detrick during business hours so why not use his work email address. Nonetheless, even if Diller was communicating with a council member at his work, shouldn't a copy have also been sent to his official email? If it was, it was not included in the email posted.

By all accounts, Diller is a competent public servant, and there probably was no malicious intent. Nonetheless, it is an indicator of how the peoples' business might be conducted at Elk Grove City Hall.

How often are council member's communicating with the city hall staff using their personal email address while not sending a copy to their official email to make the communication an easily accessed official document? Or conversely, how often are city employees communicating to city council members at their personal email address and not sending a copy to their official email address?

We might suggest the Elk Grove city council members and city employees adhere to a higher standard in their communications. All email communication from city staff to council members should be sent to their official email address and copied to their personal accounts. 

Likewise, when a city council member is emailing offsite from their personal account conducting any city business should automatically be copied to their city email address. Anything short of this not only is a breach of public trust, but it could also be construed as a violation of the Brown Act.

For all the talk through the years from the Elk Grove city council members about being transparent, let's see if they mean what they are saying and pass an ordinance regarding email communication. It is unlikely they will - don't forget how city attorney Jonathan Hobbs and his staff of mercenaries from Kronick Moskovitz has fought document requests on the proposed Wilton Rancheria.

Just what are they hiding at Elk Grove City Hall?    

Click to enlarge image. 







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2 comments

An Elk Grove Voter said...

Knowing that Shane Diller conducts his job by the book, I would venture to guess his email is a “reply all” response to an email originated by Steve Detrick from his PG&E work account. It is no secret that Detrick conducts most of his official city business, despite many requests to do otherwise, from his personal email account and server, steve@stevedetrick.com.

I wonder if PG&E has a policy regarding personal use of work email? And even more importantly, what is Detrick hiding? Why has he continuously refused to use this city email address to conduct official city business?

Eric tiffany said...

The fact that whoever wrote this article went to the lengths you did to try and smear the officials with the City of Elk Grove is irresponsible at the least. This was complete hit job by idiotic reporters. We (who live in the area) have been trying as a community to get this situation resolved. We finally got an update and it was posted on Nextdoor so everyone could see the city is engaged. Then you take that and try to smear people. You guys are complete hacks and pieces of ________. You fill in the blank!!!!! Everybody on Nextdoor who is associated with this Patti way issue now will see you for what you are. An irresponsible poor excuse of a news outlet.

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