Thursday, July 7, 2011

Emailing the city

Previously the city used to list email addresses, now click on a link and get a form, you have to fill in your first & last name, email address, phone number and then it sends an email to that dept.

Some of us use sophisticated email clients that have address books, have signature lines with our contact info, keep copies of our email so we can send (forward) second and third notices when the first email is claimed to have not been received.

This method assumes you only want to talk to one dept. As an simple example of where this doesn't work, when the county removed all drive access one day and didn't give notice or add the contract req'd barrels, some of us called the police to prevent people from driving off the 4 ft drop (several did anyway), they weren't sure what to do. So I reviewed the county plans, found the safety requirement for no driveway access. Then to prevent more people dropping off the road, I sent that info to - county supervisor, police chief, mayor, public works, city construction mgr, and the two councilman affected, also blind copied our road project lawyer. In this new method, I'd have to repeat the message 8 times and no one would be aware of who was copied.

Other times, I've sent emails, they are timestamped in my email client, then someone has claimed "they didn't know", I've simply forwarded them the old email from my city folder and they can see how long they've ignored it. In this new method, it doesn't appear that you get a copy of the email you sent.

Another feature I sometimes use is "return receipt" which tells me when my email was read.

This city web site "new feature" takes away a critical function. For those that rarely use email, they may like the new feature, for the rest of us, it should simply list the "mailto:address" HTML anchor tag as an option to the email for dummies form.


The situation I describe above is if you use Resident/StaffDirectory (top bar) or Contact Us (bottom bar). If you use Email (social bar 2nd from the bottom) it works slightly differently.

Email, appears to let you select multiple departments, but not individual people. It doesn't requiire you to specify an email address, but it DOES require you to specify a street address, city, state, and zip code (are they expecting lots of people from outside Solon? Maybe the default could BE Solon?).

Email also lets you print a copy, the directory doesn't.

Interesting that there are three ways to email, and they aren't consistent.

Some other methods of contact that might be nice - FEEDBACK to report these kind of web site problems and SUGGESTIONS to the city for anything (like not building temp roads).


Yet another way is the old way which you can contact people is by there email address at the Rec dept staff directory at  that you can get to from the rec dept or from the main staff directory.


And some have no email at all, like the clerk of council, an important person to contact about anything related to council activities.

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