Why does the Town of Sweden make it almost impossible for residents to contact the members of the Town Council?
You have to ask yourself: Are they trying to hide something or are they just incompetent?
If your elected officials do something that you think is stupid, you might fire off an email to them and tell them what you think about it.
But you can’t do that in the Town of Sweden, because the members of the Town Council don’t have email accounts.
It is 2014. In the age of email, texts, and tweets, communication is instantaneous; but, not in the Town of Sweden. You can send an email to Supervisor Rob Carges, but you cannot send an email to any of the members of the Sweden Town Council.
To contact to Supervisor Rob Carges you can send an email to email@example.com.
Try it. Send Rob an email and tell him what you think about the way the Town Council is dragging its feet about granting a 421-m tax exemption for the Clinton Street Development Project.
New York State’s Real Property Law 421-m is intended to combat blight and to save historical buildings that have fallen into disrepair. The building at 60 Clinton Street is definitely an historic property and it has definitely fallen into disrepair.
It won’t cost the town a cent to grant the tax exemption, because the property is already tax exempt. But the law requires the town to approve the 421-m tax exemption anyway so the property can be acquired by the O’Connell Organization, which has a nationwide reputation for transforming rundown neighborhoods into vibrant communities.
But you can’t send an email to Deputy Supervisor Robert Musebeck, or to Town Council members Rebecca Donohue, Donald Roberts, or Danielle Windus-Cook.
If you check the Town of Sweden’s Elected Officials web page, you’ll find that Musebeck, Donohue, Roberts and Windus-Cook all have the exact same email address.
All email to the members of the Sweden Town Council is sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s the email address of Leisa Strabel, Sweden’s Director of Finance.
You would think the town’s Director of Finance has better things to do than forward emails to the members of the Town Council. But, that isn’t the way it works in the Town of Sweden.
You send an email to email@example.com, and then you have to hope and pray that Leisa has the time and the inclination to forward each email to each of the members of the Town Council.
What are the odds of that?
If you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org there is absolutely no guarantee that Leisa will share it with the members of the Town Council
To raise the odds that all of the council members receive the email, you have two choices:
- You can send one email to email@example.com and put "To Donald Roberts, Danielle Windus-Cook, Rebecca Donohue, and Robert Musebeck," in the Subject line.
- You can send four separate emails to firstname.lastname@example.org , and use a different subject line for each email
- To Donald Roberts
- To Danielle Windus-Cook
- To Rebecca Donohue
- To Robert Musebeck
It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.
You can send an email directly to the Town Clerk, the Receiver of Taxes & Assessments, and even to the Superintendent of Highways.
But you can’t send an email directly to the members of the Sweden Town Council.
Maybe if everyone sends and email to email@example.com about the 421-m tax exemption, Leisa Strabel’s inbox will be flooded.
She’ll get fed up and ask the Town Council to please join the rest of us in the 21st Century by setting up a separate email account for each member of the Sweden Town Council.