Town Council Email Policy

Adopted November 26, 2007

Pursuant to Section 35 of the Council Rules, the Falmouth Town Council hereby directs the Town Manager to memorialize the following policies of the Falmouth Town Council:

1)  Use of Electronic Mail (E-mail)  

A)  Three or more Councilors or three or more members of any Volunteer Board or Committee shall avoid the use of e-mail for deliberation, discussion, or for voting on matters properly confined to public meetings; email should be used for non-substantive matters such as scheduling meetings, dissemination of information and reports, and developing agendas for future meetings.

B)  In the event this policy is not followed, or if there is a question whether substantive matters properly confined to public meetings were discussed or deliberated on via e-mail by three or more members of any Town body, those e-mails in question should be printed and disclosed to the public at the next public meeting of the Town body.

C) Under Maine’s Freedom of Access (“Right to Know”) law, all e-mail and e-mail attachments received or prepared for use in matters concerning Town business or containing information relating to Town business are likely to be regarded as public records which may be inspected by any person upon request, unless otherwise made confidential by law.

D) The Town Council Chair shall acknowledge email messages that come to all Council members at once.  While the Chair is not empowered to discuss substantive matters on behalf of the Council in these acknowledgements, he or she may supply pertinent information regarding how the Council will proceed with the issue, if applicable (for example, upcoming public hearings, information available through the Town of Falmouth website, and so on).  The Chair and individual Councilors remain free to reply to such messages as individuals, but shall refrain from engaging more than one other Councilor in the electronic discussion.