Clarksville, TN – At the direction of Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, the City of Clarksville’s new website has been updated to advise citizens that their e-mail addresses may be subject to disclosure under the Tennessee Open Records Act.
“The Tennessee Open Records Act has, for many years, acknowledged that written communications between constituents and publicly elected officials discussing government business are public records. This includes e-mail communications. This has been the case since the current system in use by Clarksville’s elected officials was initiated,” said Mayor McMillan.“The Open Records Act is very clear in its purpose and intent: transparency and openness in the way government officials conduct their business. There are very limited exemptions to the law and virtually all communications between constituents and elected officials are ‘public records.’” stated Mayor McMillan.
The City’s new website allows people to sign up for various e-mails, including those from Council members. A new service being offered through the site allows citizens to sign up for specific types of news items. Both of these services require individuals to provide their e-mail address to receive information from the City.
Additionally, citizens may use the City’s website to ask for specific information or share an idea with someone in Clarksville government. The “Contact Us” page invites people to do just that. That page has also been updated to remind everyone that communications between individuals and City representatives may be subject to disclosure through an Open Records Act request.
“Neither the old website nor the e-mail system used by the Council members advised citizens that their correspondence with City officials could be subject to the provisions of the Open Records Act,“ said Mayor McMillan. “I have instructed the IT Department to include a statement that reminds people about the application of the Act. Although the law hasn’t changed in the past several years, the new site gives us the opportunity to improve upon our communications and I believe this reminder will do that.”