Clerk's Office has difficulty responding to media requests - apparently has a protocol with directions and instructions

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 11th, 2020



We got another one.

This is the third or fourth – maybe the fifth time people within city hall have chosen not to respond to questions for basic information.  They do this because they are told not to respond.

The City Clerk who is mandated to ensure that citizens can access city documents and arrange to delegate to City Council as well as answer questions on procedure and process.

Earlier in the week there was a report delivered to Council about the contract with ADR Chambers being renewed for a three year period.

ADR Chambers serves as the Ombudsman for the city.

I was a little confused and asked the Clerk the following:

“Would you explain to me the different roles that ADR Chambers and Principles Integrity play and the service they provide your office.

“I don’t think I have a clear picture. ADR is the Ombudsman – what then does Principles Integrity do?”

Kevin Arjoon, the City Clerk replied:

“Hi Pepper, as you know the protocol is that all media requests go through communications. I’m sending this to Sharon Will my Communications rep.”

Two things:

The protocol that Arjoon mentions is not something I have seen. There have been requests that I work with the Communications Advisors in the past and I have on occasion done that.

On those occasions when the information I need is complex, often requiring a follow up – I choose to work directly with the person who has the information.

Communications Advisors are not journalists. They are employees of the city in place to first and foremost protect the interests of the city.

They issue media releases that set out the city’s side of the story.

That is not how a public is properly informed.

The organization that provides us with our credentials has a mantra that it uses to explain what journalism is and why we have a free press.

At this point, my experience with the city is that they have chosen to manage the flow of information.

Completely unacceptable.NNC landing

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2 comments to Clerk’s Office has difficulty responding to media requests – apparently has a protocol with directions and instructions

  • Rob n

    If I recall correctly, Mayor Meed-Ward campaigned on running a transparent City Hall.

    Am I right or wrong?

    It would be good to know what value ADR Chambers and Principles Integrity add to us.

    Thanks for keeping your eyes and ears open Pepper.
    And for keeping the people informed.

  • Denise W

    Why is city hall becoming more opaque? Wasn’t it supposed to become more transparent and helpful?