Accountability, transparency key, but so is access: Councilor phones should be listed

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Every city councilor in Dover and Somersworth lists a phone contact; why not Rochester? (Courtesy screenshots Dover, Somersworth City Council pages)

During the recent revelations of sex assault accusations regarding a former City Councilor it came to the attention of The Rochester Voice that several City Councilors have chosen not to have their phone numbers listed on the City of Rochester's official City Council page.
It seems counter intuitive that councilors would not make these available to constituents who crave easy access to address concerns they might have about the city or their ward.
Citizens trying to contact those councilors that eschew posting their phone numbers must send an email over the city's official portal on the City Council page, which only allows the option of sending it to all councilors, the mayor and the city manager.
A second drawback to this is the sender has no history of an email string on their computer or phone. It's all on the city's hard drive or cloud.
The contact dashboard also instructs citizens to "Click on any City Councilor below for additional contact info yet several City Councilors have no additional contact info except their home address.
That leaves constituents with two choices to contact those councilors: send an email to the whole council, mayor and city manager, or crank up their GPS and make a house call.
And we all know no one's got time for that!
Accessibility is just as important as accountability.
We took a check at Dover and Somersworth City Council pages where every city councilor has a home or cell phone number listed.
As long as Rochester's getting on board with an ethics commission, maybe they should also follow the other Tri-Cities lead on contact access and list their phone numbers.
Transparency, accountability, accessibility. They are all equally important.
City Manager Blaine Cox recently said there is no requirement that councilors provide a telephone number.
We think there should be, and we think the councilors should be overwhelmingly happy and proud to provide it.

- HT

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