An Auburn councilor has blocked e-mail from a colleague on the City Council.

AUBURN – Auburn City Councilor Bob Mennealy can cross one name off his e-mail list: Councilor Kelly Matzen has set up his computer to block notes from Mennealy as soon as they arrive.

“I don’t think he was trying to get away with anything,” Matzen said. “I just think he was inviting people to take part in a discussion that is better suited for City Council chambers.”

Matzen said he made the decision late one night last week after receiving several e-mails from Mennealy asking questions about city TIF districts.

“I just made a snap decision and e-mailed back that he was blocked from my home computer and my computer at work,” Matzen said.

For Mennealy, the e-mails are a way to document his thoughts and to present ideas to other councilors outside council chambers.

“I’m just trying to present all the facts,” Mennealy said. “I think that there is information out there that is contrary to what we are hearing in council chambers, and I’m trying to get all of the information on the table.”

Mennealy said he has been trying to get information about the city’s TIF districts from city staff for several weeks. Much of that information was presented to councilors Monday, but Mennealy still has questions about it.

“I’m not asking them for discussion,” Mennealy said. “I’m just passing along other information I receive from a number of sources that they might not be aware of.”

Matzen believes those discussions belong in City Council chambers.

“These kinds of items are best discussed at a public meeting where everyone can hear the discussion and can be involved,” Matzen said.

He said Mennealy tends to be calmer in person than in his e-mail.

“He seems to lose his inhibitions in his e-mails,” Matzen said. “He says things I don’t think he’d say in the our presence. They can become very accusatory, rising to the level of paranoia.”

Councilor Marcel Bilodeau also has asked Mennealy not to include him in future e-mail discussions.

“If he wants to discuss something, then this is where it needs to take place,” Bilodeau said, indicating the City Council chambers. “It’s ironic. He wants to include the public in council discussions, but the public is excluded from those kinds of e-mail discussions. I’d rather talk in public, above board.”

Mennealy said he will continue sending messages to all of the members of the City Council.

“I’m not asking for them to respond,” Mennealy said. “If they want to read it, fine. If not, I feel kind of sorry for them because they’re not open to new ideas.”


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