‘Publicly attacked’: Correspondence policy drafted by Rideau Lakes Township

Rideau Lakes Township is looking at a new correspondence policy to help deal with each bit of communication received and how to respond to them. Photo credit: Pixabay.
Posted on: February 28, 2024

Policy would help staff deal with each piece of communication received


Delivering messaging consistently and fairly in the Township of Rideau Lakes has prompted the chief administrative officer to bring a new policy to the table. 

Shellee Fournier, the township’s CAO, said they do not have a correspondence policy in the municipality, so she drafted one for the municipal services committee to consider during its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 26. 

“Quite often we handle correspondence differently, or staff struggle with exactly how to handle it,” Fournier said. 

Using a policy created for the Municipality of Southgate, north of Toronto, Fournier said she thought that it would assist staff in Rideau Lakes. The policy identifies how to deal with each type of correspondence received, she noted. 

“It also gives the township the ability to send back correspondence that may have defamatory or allegations of disrespectful types of information in it,” Fournier said. “It’s my firm belief that municipal governments require respect from their constituents and this would give staff the ability to handle those pieces of correspondence.”

Mayor Arie Hoogenboom said that this would be circulated to all councillors and if they wanted to have some formal additions to the agenda concerning correspondence received, they could do some action with respect to that.

Coun. Jeff Banks said he was “glad to see it,” as it was “getting a little out of hand – some of the correspondence. It’s about time.” 

Banks said it wasn’t fair to get correspondence “thrown onto a docket,” as they’re just trying to do their job. “You get publicly attacked on some of these things. Maybe that will put a slow-down on it. It’s great to see that it came forward.”

Coun. Marcia Maxwell asked about letters from municipalities seeking support with causes, and if this would relate to that as well. 

The CAO said she could amend the policy as council wished. She said she could continue to put each outlying municipality’s correspondence on the agenda. 

Coun. Deborah Anne Hutchings said it was a good move as they could identify if the correspondence was “bullying or constructive criticism.”

“As someone who has been extensively bullied my whole life, I appreciate this,” she said. “There has to be a line drawn in the sand … where I sit, you don’t go after me as a person, you go after my decision … it’s gotten so people are coming after my person, and they’re people I don’t know.”

Hutchings said someone is going to get hurt, “because it’s really getting out of hand.”

Hoogenboom added that this is not discouraging public input. 

Banks added, “It puts a filter on it, and that’s what we need.”

“I don’t think we want to burden our managers with every piece of correspondence that comes in,” the mayor added. 

Council passed the amended motion to recommend the correspondence policy to council. They meet on March 4.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News