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MUNINET Home

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MUNINET  October 2006

MUNINET October 2006

Subject:

Re: MuniNet History & Purpose

From:

Montgomery Town Clerk <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 2 Oct 2006 08:21:17 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (168 lines)

  I fully agree with Heidi

  Renee J Patterson
  Montgomery Town Clerk/Treasurer
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: "Heidi Racht" <[log in to unmask]>
  To: <[log in to unmask]>
  Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 12:26 PM
  Subject: Re: MuniNet History & Purpose


  > Hello All,
  >
  > Someone once said that the best letters are those that are left unsent,
  > and, having said this, I am writing and about to send a letter
  > electronically.
  >
  > Here are a couple of thoughts from someone who has been on the Muninet
  > only since March Town Meeting.
  >
  > 1. Discussion about procedures and policies, from pets in office to
  > recording, have been interesting and informative. Thanks to all who have
  > taken the time to respond to various concerns and queries. I have truly
  > benefited from your experience and expertise.
  >
  > 2. Rants are tiresome, especially those that are dashed off and not
  > edited. These have included a variety of topics, but for me, it is all
  > about tone. It's true that we all get frustrated sometimes about things
  > for which we have no control, and I know I jumped in last week with a 
rude
  > comment about Colorado and vital records. I will try to resist the urge 
in
  > the future.
  >
  > 3. Politics. I don't want to know your politics and I don't want to 
share
  > mine with you. I want to interact with you as a Town Clerk and deal with
  > issues that are important to us - how we interact and serve both our 
towns
  > and the greater community among us. If I wanted politics in this 
election
  > season, I would get television, and I certainly don't want to see it 
here.
  >
  > Finally, to end on a more positive note, I am truly grateful for the
  > information and the support - and the open forum that Muninet provides.
  > Let's all keep our good communication going.
  >
  > Heidi Racht
  >
  > Hi All,
  >>
  >> Your friendly MuniNet Listserv administrator here.
  >>
  >> There has been some lively discussion on the list for the past few 
days.
  >> I was tempted to step in but I always hesitate to interfere with
  >> anything other than to take care of mechanical and administrative error
  >> messages the computer system generates every day.
  >>
  >> This is YOUR list and, I might add, one of the most successful
  >> electronic discussion groups the state has ever had.  At last count,
  >> there are 299 individuals on the list and generally 10 to 15 messages
  >> per day.  The capacity to reach out and communicate with your fellow
  >> municipal officials to get and to share information is an incredibly
  >> powerful and useful tool, particularly in a rural state like Vermont. 
I
  >> have participated in many internet listserv discussions (generally
  >> related to boating, of course) and have never found a group of
  >> participants who have been as consistently civil, friendly, and
  >> professional.  All this with virtually no interference on my part.  You
  >> are all to be congratulated.
  >>
  >> I thought it might be helpful to refresh everyone's memory on how this
  >> list started.  Steven Jeffrey of the VLCT and I were talking about the
  >> possibility of setting up an electronic communication platform that
  >> municipal officials could use to communicate easily, share information,
  >> and help each other. I was on the faculty at UVM and the University
  >> allowed any faculty member to set up a listserv on the UVM mainframe
  >> without charge.  I started the list in August 1998.  The first four
  >> subscribers who posted welcome messages were Steven Jeffrey, Chuck
  >> Hafter, John Cushing, and Dencie Mitchell (feel free to check out the
  >> archives and read their first messages).
  >>
  >> We did talk about whether there should be separate lists for clerks,
  >> town managers, listers, etc and decided the list would have the 
greatest
  >> potential for succeeding if we had only one list for all municipal
  >> officials.  We never did restrict discussion or get very specific about
  >> rules as to who could sign on to the list.  As of this morning there 
are
  >> 299 subscribers on the list.  There are town clerks, listers, folks 
from
  >> VLCT, the Secretary of State's office (including the secretary 
herself),
  >> listers, tax officials, legislators, and more. Only once in 8 years 
have
  >> I had to deal with someone I thought shouldn't have been on the list.
  >> It was a purely commercial activity who joined the list and then 
quickly
  >> posted an advertisement.  Rather than take them off the list (which I
  >> can do as the administrator) I wrote them an email and asked them to
  >> take themselves off the list - which they immediately did.  We did have
  >> a spell of problems with virus messages contained in attachments so had
  >> to restrict the list to prohibit attachments.
  >>
  >> I no longer work for the University but they have graciously allowed us
  >> to continue to have this list service at no cost and have allowed me to
  >> continue to administer this list.  They have been very helpful and
  >> supportive over the years.  John Ryder at UVM in particular has been
  >> extremely generous with his support any time we have had any problems.
  >>
  >> So, there it is.  The list is extremely open.  Anyone can join and see
  >> the messages posted.  Anyone can see who the members of the list are 
any
  >> time. The archives of EVERY message ever posted is available to the
  >> public on the internet going back to the very first messages in 1998
  >> (instructions for reviewing the membership and viewing the archives are
  >> at the end of this email).
  >>
  >> I would hope the members of the list would keep in mind that the 
genesis
  >> of the system was for municipal officials. Clearly the town clerks have
  >> used this communication tool more than any other municipal officers but
  >> the folks from VLCT have always been very helpful and willing to jump 
in
  >> whenever their expertise is needed.  It is helpful for legislators to
  >> read the posts and get a preview of issues which may be coming up and
  >> helpful for the Secretary of Administration's office to check on the
  >> pulse of what's going on around the state.
  >>
  >> I know that the folks on this list are considerate, kind, friendly, and
  >> very civic and community minded and will continue to carry on a 
friendly
  >> and civilized "conversation".
  >>
  >> You can pat yourselves on the back for the great work you do both on
  >> this list and in your communities.  Thank you all.
  >>
  >> Best
  >>   Peter
  >>    :-)
  >>
  >> ------------------------------------
  >> Peter Brownell
  >> Vermont Department of Education
  >> 120 State Street
  >> Montpelier, VT 05620-2501
  >> 802-828-0289
  >>
  >>
  >> 1.  The archives of ALL messages posted to MuniNet since August 1998 
can
  >> be viewed at:
  >>
  >>         http://list.uvm.edu/archives/muninet.html
  >>
  >> 2.  To get a list of all the participants in the MuniNet list, send an
  >> email to "[log in to unmask]"  Leave the subject line blank and in
  >> the body of the email include only the single line "review muninet" 
The
  >> computer will send you a list of all the folks who are on the list. It
  >> generally takes only a few minutes.
  >>
  >>
  >>
  >

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