City Online – Council Gets Emails

After years of debate, City Councilmembers have now been given access to official city email accounts. The discussion started before COVID and ended following the recent election, with the majority of Councilmembers in favor of joining the rest of the world online.

Before COVID made the news, a debate started about city councilmembers’ access to email accounts. There were worries about costs, security, and misuse of the accounts. In February 2020, the subject was brought up again; ironically, the biggest argument against emails at the time was that the best way to communicate with residents of Deer Park was to meet in person. The very next month, Governor Jay Inslee and Mayor Tim Verzal issued emergency proclamations and suspended in-person meetings due to the COVID pandemic. With many businesses shut down, in-person meetings became much more rare. Throughout COVID, the subject was brought up, debated, and then voted down. 

Because Deer Park is considered a Strong Mayor form of government, Mayor Verzal had within his powers the ability to order the email accounts without requiring the City Council to vote. Having emails would have helped councilmembers connect with their constituents during a time when many needed the reassurance of their leaders.

In the run-up to the 2024 elections, there was significant discussion surrounding emails. The inclusion of three new members on the council signaled a shift, indicating that a majority of the council now favored having city email accounts. Without any debate or voting by the council, the city staff, at the direction of the Mayor, setup email accounts for all of the Councilmembers. 

Contact Information for Councilmembers:

Tim Verzal
Phone: (509)276-8801
Email: [email protected] 

Jason Upchurch – Council Position #1
Phone: (509)994-1360
Email: [email protected]

Fred Senn- Council Position #2
Email: [email protected]
Website: Fredsenn.com

Heather Newsom- Council Position #3
Email: [email protected]

Billy Costello – Council Position #4
Phone: (509)655-9600
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: facebook.com/councilmanbillycostello

Diane Pfaeffle – Council Position #5
Cell:     (509)727-5792
Email: [email protected]

In addition, every councilmember maintains a box at Deer Park City Hall, allowing you to either send mail or deliver a letter in person using the following address:

Deer Park City Hall
Attn: (Council Member Name)
316 East Crawford / P.O. Box F 
Deer Park, WA 99006

Sources:

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