City Commissioner Lisa Deeley's second attempt at establishing more accountability at the City Commissioners office was again snubbed by her two fellow board members.
Deeley introduced a proposal during Wednesday's board meeting to require the city email addresses for the three commissioners to be checked "regularly" by either the commissioners or a staff member, to see if messages from the public were being answered. The proposal was in response to Chairman Anthony Clark's statements that he does not use his city-issued email account.
When Deeley made her motion, Clark said, "We'll take it under advisement." The third commissioner, the sole Republican, Al Schmidt, remained quiet.
"I was disappointed," Deeley said after the meeting. "It's a sensible initiative and an improvement to move the office forward."
Last week, Deeley had a similar response when five proposals she presented were met with silence by Clark and Schmidt. One would have established attendance rules for the commissioners, along with a docking of pay if a daily log of time spent in the office was not kept. Another was to look into live-streaming the commissioners' meetings.
Deeley said then that she introduced those proposals in an attempt to reestablish the public's trust in the office.
"It's still on my radar," she said.
In recent weeks, Clark has come under criticism for routinely being absent from his office, not voting in six recent elections, and signing up for a $495,000 pension payout via the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP).
Mayor Kenney called Clark's work habits "insulting" to dedicated city employees; the city's Democratic Party chairman, U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, labeled him a "disgrace"; and the Committee of Seventy civic group proposed replacing the elected commissioners with appointed professionals.
Since then, Clark has been seen working in his office daily.
On Monday, Clark reiterated that he does not use email. "Never did use it, never, ever used it," he said.
He did not comment further on Deeley's proposal.
Clark's email address for the last few years has been listed under the "Contact Us" section of the City Commissioners website, which lists each of the three commissioners' contact information. On Monday, that email address was wiped from the site.
Asked when and why it was taken down, Clark said he did not know and asked a staffer to check.
Fred Voigt, chief counsel for the commissioners, later said that the email was removed "recently," but couldn't say by whom.
"Whoever is in charge of the website took it down, because he doesn't use email," Voigt said of Clark.
Schmidt, who does use his city email account, declined to be interviewed on Deeley's proposal. He did send this text message: "I'm focused on the upcoming election, not silly proposals about checking voicemails or whatever. That's a quote."
In other news, the commissioners unanimously supported Schmidt's proposal to ask the Finance Department for about $250,000 to send out election reminder postcards to registered voters in advance of the April 26 presidential primary. The cost for such a mailing is $500,000, for half of which the commissioners have a grant.