CBRM employees learn about writing emails
SYDNEY — The art of writing an email is getting an overhaul by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s technology department.
The CBRM has never had a formal email policy even though there has been an intention to implement one since municipal amalgamation in 1995.
“ Technology changed so much. By the time we got the policy written and ready, the (email system) was almost obsolete,” said Bob McNeil, the CBRM’s director of technology.
The policy is directed at new employees who may not be aware that emails they send and receive can be retrieved by anyone through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, also known as FOIPOP. McNeil said there have also been cases of municipal emails being subpoenaed in court cases.
Current employees will be expected to sign the form as well, declaring their understanding of the policy, McNeil said.
“If you can’t post it on a bulletin board, then you shouldn’t send it in an email,” he said.
The policy, which includes tips on how to write “well-structured” emails, states senders shouldn’t write using capitals and only mark emails as important “if they are really important.”
And it emphasizes that a staff member should never send an email “while in a heightened emotional state.”
“ Take the time to calm yourself and think about what it is you are trying to convey. Once an email has been sent and read, it cannot be retracted,” the policy stated.
Those who break the rules face losing their email privileges. But McNeil said it’s impossible to police the system, so email accounts will only be monitored if an issue is brought to the attention of a supervisor.
McNeil said the policy is directed at some 800 CBRM staff members, but not specifically toward councillors and the mayor.
The council is covered by its own code of conduct, he added.