Mayor Gives Up E-Mailing To Make A Point

Randy Brown, mayor of Evesham, has given up e-mailing and texting.  "I spend a lot of time on the phone now," he says.

Brown was stung by the Burlco prosecutor's finding in August that he and several council members violated the Sunshine Law when they discussed town business via their smartphones. 

Evesham Mayor Randy Brown

"What's town business? he said.  "If I send an e-mail to four council people asking what do you want for dinner tonight, is that official business?... What if I ask if we want to put meatballs on the agenda? 

Brown said there's a lot of gray and he doesn't want to take the chance of violating the law again.  So, he's shut down his e-mail account.  When someone wants to reach the mayor, the clerk has to call him and then he calls the resident back.  Often, the resident is surprised to hear his voice when they pick up their phone, he says.

What got him in trouble was he and two council members disccused the planning board's recommendations to make changes to a controversial helipad ordinance in March - via e-mail.  "When I said it (the recommendation) was silly, that was a statement I made, not a discussion," he says.  

Brown won't go back to e-mails or texts, he says, until the law is changed - if it is changed.  Right now the law doesn't define town business and doesn't address the use of e-mails, texts and Facebook. 

Read the Inquirer's report about the council's new ordinance on e-mailing and Brown's reaction here: